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. 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)

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.