Doctor: There’s no way of knowing if nine-month surgery delay shortened Steve Jobs’ life

“If there’s one thing we’re learning increasingly about cancer, it’s that biology is king and queen, and that our ability to fight biology is depressingly limited,” David H. Gorski, MD, PhD, writes for Science-Based Medicine (SBM).

“In retrospect, we can now tell that [Steve] Jobs clearly had a tumor that was unusually aggressive for an insulinoma,” Dr. Gorski writes. “Such tumors are usually pretty indolent and progress only slowly. Indeed, I’ve seen patients and known a friend of a friend who survived many years with metastatic neuroendocrine tumors with reasonable quality of life.”

“Jobs was unfortunate in that he appears to have had an unusually aggressive form of the disease that might well have ultimately killed him no matter what,” Dr. Gorski writes. “That’s not to say that we shouldn’t take into account his [nine-month] delay in treatment and wonder if it contributed to his ultimate demise. It very well might have, the key word being ‘might.’ We don’t know that it did, which is one reason why we have to be very, very careful not to overstate the case and attribute his death as being definitely due to the delay in therapy due to his wanting to ‘go alternative.'”

Dr. Gorski writes, “Finally, Jobs’ case illustrates the difficulties with applying SBM to rare diseases. When a disease is as uncommon as insulinomas are, it’s very difficult for practitioners to know what the best course of action is, and that uncertainty can make for decisions that are seemingly bizarre or inexplicable but that, if you have all the information, are supportable based on what we currently know.”

Read more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Note: For Dr. Gorski regarding your full article’s opening paragraph: There already is (and always has been) software that lets you do actual work on an iPad. Time to make the move!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Superior Being” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Harvard Medical School researcher: Steve Jobs’ trust in alternative medicine likely shortened his life – October 14, 2011


  1. Wow, these m.d.s love to speculate about the unknown when they are so consistently wrong. They desperately want to be acknowledged for their prognosis even with crappy track records. With cancer, it’s like the weather. Guesstimates.

    1. I’ll take the advice of a doctor with a science-based education any day of the week to these quacks pushing “alternative medicine”. The only alternative they offer is something that doesn’t work.

      1. Rather than mindlessly parroting what the mainstream media has programmed us to think, we can think for ourselves and do our own research. There are in fact a lot of scientists who don’t restrict themselves to only what the chemical companies have to offer. is a good place to start.

        There’s a lot to learn. It’s worth the effort. We could point out failures in any medical practice, and use them to decry the practitioners, but he fact is, people all die. so death isn’t an indicator of failure. How we live is what matters.

  2. Seems to be a very thoughtful and deliberately unbiased article by an expert on the subject. Very informative. Mr. Jobs went through far more hell than I could have imagined.

  3. Total crock

    Again as Tim MInchin opines:

    “By definition”, I begin
    “Alternative Medicine”, I continue
    “Has either not been proved to work,
    Or been proved not to work.
    You know what they call “alternative medicine”
    That’s been proved to work?

    Gorski’s take of science (SBM) in this manner is more than a little disingenuous, it smacks of “creation science” drivel.

    agin. to quote Minchin:

    “You’re so sure of your position
    But you’re just closed-minded
    I think you’ll find
    Your faith in Science and Tests
    Is just as blind
    As the faith of any fundamentalist”

    “Hm that’s a good point, let me think for a bit
    Oh wait, my mistake, it’s absolute bulls*.
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved.
    If you show me
    That, say, homeopathy works,
    Then I will change my mind
    I’ll spin on a f* dime
    I’ll be embarrassed as hell,
    But I will run through the streets yelling
    It’s a miracle! Take physics and bin it!
    Water has memory!
    And while it’s memory of a long lost drop of onion juice is Infinite
    It somehow forgets all the poo it’s had in it!

    You show me that it works and how it works
    And when I’ve recovered from the shock
    I will take a compass and carve Fancy That on the side of my c****.”

  4. This is an excellent article .It is not possible to definitively say whether a treatment delay of 9 months made a demonstrable difference .That said if a rare disease has only one treatment option which has been shown to be efficacious , it is not wise to delay treatment too long .
    I too bought the first of many Macs back in the 1980″s and feel a real sense of loss .Goodbye Steve-knowing you thru your products was a great privilege and I am only one of a great many people who will miss you .

  5. I have to repeat it here:

    1. Neither this doctor, not the one to whom he replies ever treated Jobs, nor they have any idea when and how he was diagnosed and which treatments were used.

    2. Jobs’ surgery was done in August of 2004, not in July, and he was diagnosed shortly before than, not in October 2003. There was never any nine month surgery delay.

    3. Jobs himself told the story of his cancer in May of 2005, clearly saying that he was diagnosed in 2004.

    4. The only “source” of this nonsense story is Forbes’ hearsay story from few years ago which was released exactly around Apple’s quarterly results then and had obvious goal to play on investors fears as “bearish” trick.

  6. Interesting how the Doctors are coming out to say alternative medicine is bad. Basing it on heresy that Steve delayed his treatment. He may have, but there isn’t yet any proof to that.

    Has anyone asked why people resort to alternative medicine? In my case it was due to the god like attitude of the doctors. I’m still here, 30 years later.

    Always get a 2nd or 3rd opinion before accepting a diagnosis.

    1. That’s a completely logical attitude. “I don’t like this doctor, so I’m gonna put my life in the hands of a quack who doesn’t know jack about science, but he sure makes me feel real good about myself.” With your moronic beliefs, it’s a miracle natural selection hasn’t gotten the best of you.

  7. Ordinarily I would have grimaced and moved on from all these idle speculations; however, these speculations and differing commentaries are giving rise to the awareness of this disease (and cancer in general) and that’s something positive and important.

  8. A 9 month delay! Hmm!!

    Although no one is 100% sure, I would guess that this may be the reason for his death.

    Then again, cancer is one of the most fatal dresses because even though we have discovered various methods of treating it, it’s not always successful,.

    I am only suggesting that the 9 month delay gave his cancer enough time worsen.

    If he had gotten it right away, maybe he would still be alive today, but then again, I am only guessing. I am not certain how acurate my opinion is.

  9. Sorry folks. Steve was a wealthy man. I suspect he tried everything he could to have stay alive and he wouldn’t have been on any waiting list. It would appear he lasted longer and achieved far more than most with his failing health.

    Ppinting the finger at western medicine or “alternative’ medicine (whatever that is) and laying the blame on either is foolish.

    Cancer killed Steve Jobs. Cancer killed my aunt. Cancer kills a lot of people. There’s a lot of it about.

    All this conjecture won’t change a thing. Steve wont be back.

    I am sure glad he was here. Thanks for everything Mr Jobs.

  10. If Jobs delayed treatment for 9 months pursuing alternative medicine we cannot say conclusively the delay made his situation worse.

    But we can definitively say waiting 9 months did not make it better and potentially made it worse.

    So we can conclude if you are diagnosed with aggressive cancer, get a second corroborating opinion and treat it immediately and effectively because there is no point in waiting (unless your doctor advises you too)

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