Steve Jobs: A difficult patient
October 25th, 2011
12:27 PM ET

Steve Jobs: A difficult patient

All those vague statements about his health that Steve Jobs put out in the last few years caused endless speculation, as the world tried to read into what could really be going on.

But now, with the biography "Steve Jobs" with Walter Isaacson, we know that behind many of those optimistic statements was a cancer that was spreading from pancreas to liver, and finally to bones and elsewhere in the body. One of the biggest surprises is that while he received state of the art medical care, he went against doctors' orders many times.

When his pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor was first discovered in October 2003, doctors said he was lucky that it had been detected so early, and it could be removed before definitely spreading. But, in Jobs' own words, "I really didn't want them to open up my body, so I tried to see if a few other things would work." Those "other things" included a strict vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies, and other alternative techniques -  even consulting a psychic.

His family pleaded with him, but it wasn't until June 2004, when a CAT scan revealed that the tumor had grown and perhaps spread, that he had to realize he couldn't successfully will his own cancer treatment.

The surgery in July 2004 involved a modified Whipple procedure, removing part of the pancreas. But it wasn't a cure: Doctors found cancer spread to three spots on his liver during the operation. It's impossible to know whether having the surgery sooner would have removed the cancer before it had spread. Yet Jobs told everyone he had been "cured." In his famous 2005 Stanford Commencement speech, a rare moment of being forthcoming about his cancer to the public, he said "I had the surgery and I'm fine now."

Jobs also went against doctors' orders with his eating habits.

Since he was a teenager, Jobs had practiced strange routines involving fasting, and would go on obsessive diets.

That's a problem because, the stomach needs enzymes to digest food and absorb nutrients, making it harder for patients who've had pancreas surgery to get enough protein. The standard of care is to have frequent meals and a diet with a variety of proteins from meats, fish and milk. But, as Isaacson points out, "Jobs had never done this, and he never would."

Flash forward to 2008, when Jobs and his doctors knew the cancer was spreading. Besides being in pain, Jobs was losing a lot of weight. This was partly a result of the partial Whipple procedure, partly because his appetite was reduced because of cancer and morphine, and also because he insisted on the same restrictive diets and fasts he'd practiced since his teenage years. Sometimes he would spend weeks only eating something like apples, or a carrot salad with lemon, and then abruptly denounce that food.

Isaacson writes:

Beginning in early 2008 Jobs' eating disorders got worse. On some nights he would stare at the floor and ignore all of the dishes set out on the long kitchen table. When others were halfway through their meal, he would abruptly get up and leave, saying nothing. It was stressful for his family. They watched him lose forty pounds during the spring of 2008.

In a public statement he attributed his weight loss to "a hormone imbalance that has been robbing me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis. The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple."

We all had speculations, but what that actually meant was: Jobs had a hormone imbalance because his cancer had spread to his liver.

He underwent a liver transplant in 2009, when his health was declining rapidly. It was successful, but doctors found that there were tumors throughout the organ, meaning the cancer had probably spread elsewhere. They also found spots on the thin membrane surrounding internal organs.

Jobs again went against doctors when he insisted that they not pump out his stomach when they needed to perform a routine procedure. That led to pneumonia, and he might have died. But he survived, and didn't lose his stubbornness, even while deeply sedated. He thought the oxygen monitor on his finger was "ugly and too complex," and offered ideas for making the design simpler.

His health and spirits appeared to improve after the transplant, but in November 2010 he experienced another downturn. He was a mere 115 pounds at Christmas. Doctors saw evidence of new tumors. "Every inch of his body felt like it had been punched, he told friends," Isaacson writes.

And his dietary finickiness continued. The family had a part-time cook who made him a variety of healthy options, but he would refuse them after merely touching one or two to his tongue. Cancer curbs appetite, but Isaacson suggests Jobs had a deeper complication from his psychological attitude toward food. He took a third medical leave in January 2011.

Jobs was among the first 20 people in the world to have a complete sequencing of all of the genes of his cancer tumor, and of his normal DNA. In this way, his medical team could choose specific drugs targeted at the molecular pathways that were promoting the abnormal growth of cancer cells. "I'm either going to be one of the first to be able to outrun a cancer like this, or I'm going to be one of the last to die from it," Jobs told Isaacson.

In July 2011, however, doctors had trouble pushing back against the cancer even with targeted drugs. Jobs had stopped going to work; he was in pain, couldn't eat most solid food, and passed many days watching TV.

When Jobs announced his resignation as Apple's CEO at the board meeting on August 24, the cancer had spread to his bones and other body parts.

"I've had a very lucky career, a very lucky life," he told Isaacson. "I've done all that I can do."

soundoff (1,566 Responses)
  1. vshake

    I wonder if he had the choice would he trade all the success and achievements of his life to have a chance to live another perhaps differently...

    October 25, 2011 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • veggiedude

      No. Except for opting for the surgery much earlier, he would do it all over again the same way. He wanted to put a dent in the universe and he succeeded.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse |
  2. ScienceSoma

    This is no different than those who believe prayer will heal their cancer / other terminal illness. It is sad to see someone so bright die from the type of ignorant decision others peddle as spiritual cures. If there is a lesson, it is to trust that the scientifically researched option will most likely outweigh the "spiritual" or religious option. When you live because you were treated according to the best science of the day, you can attribute it to whatever mysticism, god, or spiritual essence you like, but ironically, it is the same spirit of ingenuity that Jobs lived by that could have saved him had he allowed himself to admit others may know best in this instance.

    October 25, 2011 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Adrian

      wqhat does go dhave to do with this? He was a stubborn man and a finicky eater.

      October 25, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
    • BlackYowe

      I know of no one who relies only on prayer alone in my faith. In cases of medical problems we use prayer with science and medical treatment. I guess you must mean Christian Scientists. They are the only group I know who refuse medical help. I guess you just despise people who pray.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:04 | Report abuse |
    • Billy Gee

      I'd be a 'difficult' patient too...

      October 25, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
    • JohnMcLaugh


      October 25, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • TallMan

      So, there you have it - scientific proof that prayer doesn't work. Wow. I totally missed what this article was about. Thanks for enlightening us.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • CarolSong

      Ah the god of science... where are you guys when people are dying all over the place from your so called "right" treatments. Having overcome 2 cancers with the help of holistic AND chemo you guys tick me off. A + B = C. I don't think so. This story just proves to me how really smart he was.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
    • The Lunatic

      ScienceSoma – I agree, but up to a point. Even with the most well-researched treatments, nothing is a "cure" 100% of the time. Some chemo treatments are effective ~80% of the time, and some "alternative" treatments appear to be in the 10% range (hard to say exactly, as double blind studies haven't been conducted) ... but even with those odds, you will have patients that will survive with alternative treatments and you will have patients that die with conventional therapy.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
    • Sean


      It’s rather pathetic that someone would try to equate Science to a ‘god’. There is proof chemo CAN work.. there is ZERO proof that holistic treatments are any more useful than sugar pills. To say nothing of the hypocrisy of your statement.

      October 25, 2011 at 17:13 | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      Sciencesoma, science has actually proven that faith and spirituality do have an impact on disease. There is no 'lesson' here - one of the greatest geniuses of modern times died of cancer. End of story.

      October 25, 2011 at 21:49 | Report abuse |
  3. Feekoningin

    Everyone, even Steve Jobs, has a right to live - and die - on his or her own terms. I can't blame this man, who from experience knew there was always a new way to skin a cat, for pushing the limits. But the medical establishment does the same. For instance, far too many people have heart bypass surgeries, which actually can shorten their five-year survival rate rather than lengthen it. My ex-husband was told in 2004 that he had only months to live unless he had a quadruple bypass. He took his health into his own hands, never had the surgery and seven years later is alive and well. Sure, he was lucky, but he also was smart. What I'm saying is that Jobs wanted to find alternatives to improve his outcome. Often, the cure is worse than the disease. And the important point is that doctors can't guarantee the outcome would have been different if he'd followed orders. As for his family, if we love someone, sometimes we have to let go and allow that person to make decisions, even if we don't like them. The last thing Jobs controlled in his life was his free will. The real tragedy in this is that the world may not be propelled forward as quickly in the next 20 years through the brilliance of his ingenuity as it has been in the past 30.

    October 25, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Whynot11

      In this case, only a small part of the Pancreas would be removed. If you did your research you would figure out that he would, most likely have lived another 20-30 years, especially had he followed the diet that he choose after his diagnosis POST surgery. He was a very smart and healthy man, but not a medical expert...which he should have listened to.

      October 25, 2011 at 15:50 | Report abuse |
    • Feekoningin

      Actually, the prognosis for pancreatic cancer is extremely poor, a couple of years, at best. This man actually got 5-7 years more, which in reality may be a testament to the methods he employed.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Actually Steve Jobs had a very treatable form of pancreatic cancer that has a very positive long-term prognosis, especially when caught early. The surgery would likely have allowed him to live 20-30 more years of a relatively normal life.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Actually, it would have made a difference if he had followed the first recommendation of the doctors. I am familiar with this rare form of cancer. And it is not like other cancers. He would have been wise to allow removal of the initial tumor. But he did not know that and did his best in the way that made sense to him. Unfortunately with these endocrine tumors you can't play the odds. The don't remiss like other tumors. They only grow. Surgery is the only option.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      I agree in principle, but in Jobs's case, it was not a matter of living and dying on his own terms. In his authorized biography, it is stated that he actually regretted having opted for this path. I've encountered patients like him before, and the one that pains me to remember is my late best friend. A difficult person who always knew better than her physicians, she died the most horrible death that I've ever witnessed, and yes, she had cancer. I can tell you she remained stubborn until the end, but she was also extraordinarily regretful of past choices that led to her death. It was very painful to see for all those that loved her.

      October 25, 2011 at 17:10 | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      All intelligent commentary here . . . but you know what they say about hindsight (20/20). Of course he regretted his decision, knowing later what his decision cost him - but that was his decision in the moment. In the business arena - his stubborn, idiosyncratic 'do it my way' personality worked for him, but it didn't work for him regarding the decisions he made about his health. There is always an up and down side to every personality trait - what is the cause of the greatest victory in one arena can be the tragic flaw in another. It's just part of being human, and it's ecstatic and tragic, too. Steve Jobs' rise and fall exemplifies that, he was a modern hero . . . and every hero falls.

      October 25, 2011 at 21:54 | Report abuse |
  4. Frosty

    Kristal, That's you are, you're a mean person.

    October 25, 2011 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Whynot11

    Goes to show you, you need to trust your doctors. They can't force you to do anything, and they won't... but hell, they didn't go through 8+ years of medical education so you can sit there and think that you know better.

    October 25, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anchorite

      That's absolutely right.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
    • Strat4jazz

      WhyNot11, what's even more amusing than your nonsense about believing doctors and everything they say in their ego based attempt to play God is the fact that all physicians are human and fallible. Their insight is not based upon anything other than studying case history and the animal's (humans included) reaction to drugs and other treatments. Doctors, hospitals and health insurance will do more harm than good in many instances. Mr Jobs was brilliant in his field but just like doctors, he thought he could out think cancer and he mere "will to live" was strong enough to overcome cancer. The only way to beat cancer is to not contract it. Before you stand on your little soapbox and claim the wonders of the medical world because they studied for 8 years, you may want to take a few minutes out of your busy blogging schedule to pull your head out of the sand. Comments like yours are irresponsible & reckless.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Strat4jazz – are you saying the no one has ever survived cancer? And there are no valid medical treatments? Wow! You are not smart.

      Also, "Their insight is not based upon anything other than studying case history and the animal's (humans included) reaction to drugs and other treatments." What's wrong with that? How else does one figure out how to solve problems?

      October 25, 2011 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      @ Whynot11
      100% correct

      @ Strat4jazz
      Lol you sound like one of the holistic nutz. Would you say a car mechanic is playing ‘god’? How about a computer tech?

      October 25, 2011 at 17:19 | Report abuse |
    • Strat4jazz

      @ Jim, Well, you are quite the think tank aren't you? Instead of reading into my comments whatever wacky thoughts are floating around in your head, try to understand I never said no valid treatments of cancer exist, in fact the most difficult part of cancer is that it takes on different signature symtoms in each body. The bigger issue is Cancer is a huge Billion dollar a year industry that due to the treatment presently is now a self sustaining business. If you think for one second that the medical industry doesn't know that, then you sir are short sided. Just for the record, I am a cancer survivor and I didn't think doctors, hospitals or God could save me if it were my time to go.
      @ Sean, your comments are so ill thought out and without merit it's difficult to respond. I'm not a holistic nut or anything like that, in fact my health (at 54 years) of age is quite on the leading edge, see if you can put the remote control down for a minute and take a healthier approach to your own fitness before you start running your mouth without your brain engaged. Why would you think that a car mechanic is playing God or a computer tech ?

      October 25, 2011 at 18:23 | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    I salute Steve Jobs for what he accomplished.
    Some people live a short life and contribute a lot to the society while others follow all the rules and live forever being a burden on the earth. Just think about your accomplishments before criticizing. Be appreciate for the good the side a human being.

    October 25, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Juana

      Aren't you just a little sweetheart, talking about people living too long and being burdens? Let's hope it doesn't happen to you!

      October 25, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • drjliu

      Wow what negativity and fear. Steve Jobs lived to the fullest regardless of what his doctors told him. Usually people die soon after being told of pancreatic cancer so he died the way he lived, on his own terms. He had the freedom of choice to do so and, as usual, to heck with what anyone else thought. Always true to himself. Always followed his God, with courage and stuck his nose at the rest. Best science does mean a cure – in fact – the modern medical community can barely say "cure" because they often do their procedures, hold their noses, and cross all their fingers and toes! They don't quite believe in their own work! He didn't want to be invaded. He wanted kinder and gentler. Freedom of choice, to the end.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      This IS actually becoming a very serious issue. Do a little research into age statistics and Medicare / social security.


      October 25, 2011 at 17:21 | Report abuse |
  7. TM

    Kristal either needs to grow up or take some ESL classes. Spewing off all this nonsensical jibberish is a waste of everyone's time to read, and extremely tiresome. Lol at the Forrest Gump/Mensa comment, Jim.

    That said, I think it's unfortunate that he didn't take his doctor's advice. Perhaps he could have avoided all the pain and his untimely ending if he had taken the medical advice to heart. RIP Mr. Jobs. I agree that it's his body though, and he could do with it what he chose. Some choices are not good choices though. 🙁

    By the way, Kristal, that is how you use punctuation and good grammar. Thanks for the laugh.

    October 25, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. mvpolo

    Bottom line....Steve Jobs was his own best and worst advocate and adversary. He knowingly chose his health and medical pathways regardless of his idiosyncrasies. If nothing else, there is something to be learned from his behaviors for those who might find themselves in similar predicaments.

    October 25, 2011 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jim

      That is a very reasonable reaction to this man's behavior. That is something that I have never seen in the comments section. I feel like I should put the word "idiot" here just so people will see it and read your response.

      October 25, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse |
  9. Brian

    Until you have lived in someone else's shoes...be very mindful of judging.

    October 25, 2011 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brett

      There was an old lady who lived in a shoe...

      I think you mean walking in someone's shoes. People have no problems calling the man a genius but all criticism of Steve Jobs is off limits, right. Clearly his understanding of medical science was much lacking. Are you disputing that he chose poorly?

      October 25, 2011 at 16:22 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I'm simply saying be mindful of how you judge someone else's decisions. This clearly was not a reflection of the man's intelligence. We know he was a smart man. Other factors at play here.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:26 | Report abuse |
    • TallMan

      Live in his shoes?! Man! I thought it was walk a mile...now, we have to live in them?

      October 25, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Yep. Live in their shoes. Even if you have a different shoe size. You have to actually fit into their exact shoes. Tie the laces the same way. Unless they use velcro. Then there aren't any laces to tie. You just flap the velcro over. It's easier. Anyhow, that's the only way to know for sure how someone else makes a certain decision. OK?

      October 25, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
  10. Mark

    this is an excellent example of the fallacy of ideology. ideology, personal theory or school of thought thinking can never always provide the right answers – ideology is frequently wrong. Steve had personal philosophy that alternative medicine was healthier and safer than conventional medicine. in some cases it can be, but in other cases it is not. Steve should have been pragmatic and go with whichever alternative/conventional cancer treatment for which there is reliable scientific evidence that it works. clearly the science on the alternatives he was trying simply was not there. hope some of the rest of us will learn a lesson from his error. Thank you for great computer products starting since early 1980s to present. May God bless you Steve. Rest in Peace.

    October 25, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Miss Macy

    All the best doctors, medical care and radical treatment known to man can't save a body with liver and pancreatic cancer. Steve Jobs was fighting a losing battle. It's heartbreaking that he had to suffer like that at the end of his life.

    October 25, 2011 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jim

      Yes, but when he refused the surgery his pancreatic cancer had likely not yet metastasized and he was in the very tiny percentage of pancreatic cancer patients who have a positive long-term prognosis. He wasted that chance.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      All the best doctors especially can't be effective when the patient refuses to follow their advice.

      October 25, 2011 at 17:10 | Report abuse |
  12. Rex

    Just to show you that brains and money don't always equal common sense. My question is this – why did he receive a liver transplant? Those of us who are practicing physicians know that transplantation for malignancies at this stage are exercises in futility, which not only are needlessly expensive (not an issue in this case), but also rob someone else of a liver transplant that would have had a better chance of longer term survival. The transplant center must have been bought off...

    October 25, 2011 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. drambuiej

    I think Steve Jobs was an amazing human being and I'm sad for his loss. On one hand though, I'm angered that he didn't take his doctors' advice that could have saved him and prevented the spread of the cancer. The liver he received could have gone to someone else in desperate need.

    October 25, 2011 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • drjliu

      You don't think he was in desperate need? Interesting.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
    • janie

      This person means that he wouldn't have been in need if he hadn't been an idiot and had just undergone the initial tumor removal. I have found over the years that often geniuses are crazy. Normal people can't think outside of the box like crazy people can, so these creative people become famous and create wonderful inventions and then we have to watch their downfall. He literally chose useless methods: "strict vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies, and other alternative techniques – even consulting a psychic." He had no understanding of physiology. For example, acupuncture is described as helping the body by putting holes in it. I think its main claim is that it releases "toxins" or something. Please pick up a book people. Toxins aren't just floating below the surface in a mysterious chamber waiting to escape from a man made hole in the skin. You're just stabbing various epidermal structures that have functions to help your skin. How could this be beneficial? People that don't question things and have no desire to take the time to understand have no place in making decisions. Having a good diet always helps facilitate a treatment and healing but it isn't going to make cancer go away! Cancer is unregulated cell growth. Does he think the nutrients from his food are going to reach his tumor, get in the cells, find their way into the DNA, and turn off cell growth? Please don't get me started on psychics... it's like he wanted to die. I do love my macbook though and I appreciate his contributions to technology. It just bothers me that he has a family and he didn't seem to care to stay alive for them.

      October 25, 2011 at 17:48 | Report abuse |
  14. job2010

    I would be difficult patient as well.

    October 25, 2011 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. moetts

    Imagine it was his nature to question the accepted norm. That was a huge part of his success.
    Asking 'why and is there a better way', is how we move forward.

    October 25, 2011 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jim

      Yes, I agree. But, just like Steve Jobs didn't try to actually build his own computers/peripherals/etc., he shouldn't have tried to be his own doctor. He would have made a very bad engineer, which is why he hired very good engineers, and why he should have listened to his doctors.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • drjliu

      Actually, when he was a very young man, he did build his own computers. Read all of the biographical info about his early years. And yes, that's the problem, these days, people think they can't be their own doctors. But the truth is, you can. Modern medicine doesn't serve well when people feel so helpless.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:16 | Report abuse |
  16. Andrea M

    My dad was the same way with food. He could literally live off of coffee yogurt, cottage cheese, and celery no problem. He too tried to fight his cancer with weird diets (macrobiotic BS in his case) and in the end died from it all. I feel so incredibly sorry for his family, knowing what it feels like to someone complicating cancer with an eating disorder.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Karen B

      I know what you mean, and I am not sure if it affects their health or lifespan, but it is simply just a shame, with so much wonderful food to be enjoyed, that these loved ones of ours restrict their diet choices to so little.

      October 25, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse |
  17. pmn

    Prime example of how we live and die by our own terms. We have the freedom to chose the type of medical treatment. Jobs did what he felt was best for him and try to find a better way even until the end. Even though he went against doctors orders is not a bad thing at all. He made the choice for him. You know what, for someone who had pancreatic cancer diagnosed in 2003 lived way past the expectation for anyone with this type of cancer. Those diagnosised with Pancreatic cancer have life expectancy (depending on the stage) from 2 weeks to 5 years. He lived 8 years from diagnosis! That alone is impressive.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brett

      He lived so long because he eventually submitted to medical treatment. He likely would have lived longer if he had submitted to medical treatment sooner. He is dead now because his cancer had time to throw mets to his liver before he finally underwent surgery.

      We are all free to be ignorant I suppose, by why would you choose to be so? Especially when it comes to your health?

      October 25, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse |
  18. MF

    It is sad to see what could have maybe been a longer life for Steve Jobs. It also seems that as he created an empire, he thought that he was invincible and had the power to will this disease away. It cames across as a man living in a bubble, unaware of what is going around him – his family – his children who needed him. Without wanting to judge him, I can understand wanting to seek other alternatives to traditional medicine, but when this does not work, going against your doctor's advice is not wise. It seems selfish and self-indulgent behavior – especially when you have family who is witnessing your struggle and suffering. He lived for himself and seemingly by himself – until the end.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. redwine

    Good with computers. Good at manipulating preferences. Bad at dealing with people. Genius? or jack...?

    October 25, 2011 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. nat

    Why do people turn crazy when they get rich?

    October 25, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brett

      Maybe only crazy people get rich...

      October 25, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
    • TallMan

      Not sure if you're correct on that one. If you would kindly send me 10 million dollars, I will investigate and get back to you on that.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
  21. lynette hall

    I am from Australia, Kristal if you think these peoples comments are mean, you seriously need to cowboy up.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. joe public


    October 25, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Whatnow

    My father used to say that true intelligence was realizing that you don't know everything and asking for help was pure brilliance.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Common Sense

    So, basically, Steve Jobs died of arrogance.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • memememe

      LOL you've got it. Not a bad choice though if you WANT to die. Just ignore the doctors, get high, and call it a day. But to actually think that it would work? Well........

      October 25, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
  25. memememe

    Yikes! It's one thing to be misdiagnosed by an incompetent doctor, but to blunder like this out of stupidity, resulting in death, must be bad for the self esteme I would think LOL.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Ena2222

    Thank God he went against Doctor's orders, he survived 8 years with Pancreatic Cancer, the most vicious cancer out there, the survival rate is almost 0! Nada! He sought alternative treatment and he eat right and that's why the man lived 8 more years than he should have! Why would you even suggest that he had an '"eating disorder", was he supposed to pump his body with junk food and take drugs? he would have been gone a long time ago. Every single person that I've known that had cancer and took Radiation and Chemo, "the TRADITIONAL route", is dead now. Except that is for my father who had advanced prostate cancer, went against doctor's orders, sought alternative treatment and is still alive and doing great 15 years later! and believe me DIET had a lot to do with it. At no time has cancer been so widespread amongst our population than now that people eat the most disgusting fast foods! I had a heart attack due to stress and thank God I went against doctor's orders (who happens to smoke, does not exercise and drinks coffee like water). I have no high blood pressure, no cholesterol, my triglycerides are normal and he suggested that I start pumping all these drugs "to prevent" another heart attack. I replied by hiking more, running more, drinking more water, sleeping more and continuing on with my Vegetarian diet which is what saved me from a worse outcome in the first place. Stress? yeah it's a killer and that's what I have to work on because in my case, it was the real culprit behind my heart attack!

    October 25, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brett

      Anecdotes are not antidotes. You don't have a clue what you are talking about or what you are doing. Jobs lived 8 years because he eventually got medical treatment. The article clearly lays out the timeline of the "traditional" medical treatments that Jobs underwent, including multiple surgeries. His physical wasting was due to what was correctly classified as an eating disorder. This increased his pain and suffering.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
    • Bob C.

      He actually had the "lucky" very rare form of pancreatic where surgery would have extended his life by 20 years. My MIL died of the other kind in six months. You (and many people here) are confusing the two.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:48 | Report abuse |
  27. Fig1024

    The more I read about the way Steve Jobs was, the more I realize that as a person, he was a total dick.
    Yea he was a great CEO, but a terrible human being.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Bill

    The arrogance of Jobs was incredible. He always knew best. No one else knew what they were talking about. This mean spirited little man enjoyed making other people look bad in order to make himself look better. Well' in the end he made himself look like a fool. A perfect example why you follow your doctors orders...........

    October 25, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. George

    Arrogance is what led to his demise..

    October 25, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Cecil

    "Eccentricity" is often confused with "stupidity".

    October 25, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brett

      Does he have an excuse for being ignorant? All he had to do was fire up his iPad and look at the statistics for his type of cancer, the success rate for treatment, the survival rate of surgery, and the long-term prognosis.

      October 25, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
  31. Jackie

    He did it HIS way

    October 25, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. SMANCometh

    Drs are a pain in the butt. I have had so many problems with doctors that think they know what's best for everyone, but the truth is, they don't even keep up with the latest research. I can't blame Steve for wanting to manage his own health care...I would also if I was in his shoes. We all have to die and we all have the choice to go out on our own terms...

    October 25, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. SP

    I beleive that even Science is the fruit of GOD and Steve Jobds should have considered doctors and also might have continued with the prayer to help all his fans and his family especially.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Mitch

    Steve Jobs, what a dunce...

    October 25, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Mitch

    What an arrogant, pompous idiot...see what it got him...

    October 25, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. died in his own terms

    The bottom line is that Steve Job is amazing even in the way that he died.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Ena2222


    Survival Rates
    According to the American Cancer Society, for all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one-year relative survival rate is 20%, and the five-year rate is 4%. These low survival rates are attributable to the fact that fewer than 20% of patients' tumors are confined to the pancreas at the time of diagnosis; in most cases, the malignancy has already progressed to the point where surgical removal is impossible.

    In those cases where resection can be performed, the average survival rate is 18 to 20 months. The overall five-year survival rate is about 10%, although this can rise as high as 20% to 25% if the tumor is removed completely and when cancer has not spread to lymph nodes.




    October 25, 2011 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bob

      Just to be clear, since misinformation kills people every day. This is a neuroendocrine tumor of the pancreas not a pancreatic adenocarcinoma (which is what all of the statistics you cite are about). Neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas arise from different cells and follow completely different rules that a standard pancreatic cancer. They are highly curable by surgery if caught early and even when they spread tend to follow the same course as described in this article.

      October 25, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
    • Lane

      Bob is very smart. Thank you!

      October 25, 2011 at 19:51 | Report abuse |
  38. Kayleen

    For the people who think doctors are the only ones who can 'cure' or 'fix' you..read the book Anti-Cancer. While i don't believe diet and exercising will save you from a terminal cancer..i believe it has the power to significantly change the course of a non-life threatening disease (ie diabetes, high blood pressure, early stage cancer). Food is the reason all these diseases exist in the first place so avoiding certain foods seems to be a viable option.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. JimiJoni

    What a waste of a perfectly good liver.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. rcpr

    so stupid...

    he don't need no doctor and we don't care if he did... dam folks, he is dead – tha DEAD! move on... media! move on! boring!!!!!!!!!!!

    he was just some rich guy who happen to be stupid...

    October 25, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Lori

    Wow... for such a genius he sure made some stupid choices. You can't fast away cancer... you can't quit eating meat or have acupuncture to get rid of it... you cannot pray it away. It is a serious disease that requires serious treatment. Now his wife is without a husband and his kids are without a dad.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Slavadil

    How could someone so smart take such bad care of themselves?
    If only he did as the doctors asked back in 2003, he'd still be leading Apple..

    October 25, 2011 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. dinoSnake

    Just last month...I lost my own father to pancreatic cancer. I've seen what it does to people, twice in my lifetime. What concerns me is how much fundraising, emphasis and media is given to so many of the other cancers – breast, lung, skin, prostate – when pancreatic is one of the most lethal of them all. Only 5% of pancreatic cancer patients survive once diagnosed.

    Why? Please, as a survivor of a victim, why isn't more being done???! In finding early diagnosis? In better treatments – heck, ANY treatments. The Whipple is a stopgap that usually gives the patient no more than 1 year's worth of respite. Can't we do ANYTHING?

    October 25, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. TTommy

    I'm afraid he died of a massive ego. He knew he was smarter than anyone and everyone, and that included the best doctors in the world. I can't feel sorry for someone who makes bad choices, and it was his life to fritter away.

    October 25, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Marti58

    Like so many "different people" he was misunderstood. He was not a terrible human being as some bloggers here seemed to suggest. He must have suffered tremendously..I feel for him. I wonder about his family, I never heard much of him having kids and being married or not?
    When Steve died we lost a genius. Let's mourn his loss. Thank you

    October 25, 2011 at 17:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RoMomma

    Does anyone know if Steve Jobs was ever tested for Aspergers? Being a finicky eater and the touching the food to the tongue hit home massively for me. It also describes my elementary school aged child who is diagnosed with Aspergers. This same child has also test way above his grade level.

    October 25, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. parkcitybrian

    this certainly jibes with the common knowledge of him being rude, difficult and narcissistic. he was tyrannical to those who worked with him and out-of-hand dismissed any criticism of his ideas (altho most of them were good ones) but he had little humility. definitely not a nice person.

    October 25, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. colet

    good grief! Just let the man rest in peace

    October 25, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RemmetS

    A genius who thought he could cure himself. Ironic his poor decisions was his demise. Karma for the way he treated his famly and employees. His god was technology and he despised people.

    October 25, 2011 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. DS123

    Why are people spinning this? When you get diagnosed with cancer, the question is simple: Can we remove every cancer cell in your body with one excision(Aka has it spread)? Yes = you beat the cancer you are cured. No = You die a slow death – whether it be months or years.

    Jobs was extremely luck the time of cancer he had was not traditional pancreatic cancer. It seems doctors were fairly confident you can go in, cut it out, and that's it. They probably could have even done it laparoscopically. Instead he chose to treat it with broccoli, and the cancer spread, and he spent the last moments of his life declaring himself afraid to die.

    That is what happens when you are a fool, and you make of a mockery of modern medicine.

    October 25, 2011 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Leave a Reply to Seo Marketing Firm


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.