An apple a day could have kept the doctor away for Steve Jobs. That’s what a Harvard Medical School cancer researcher says in a new report that suggests the tech wizard’s knack for unconventional treatment could have caused his death.
In a new report published in the Silicon Valley journal Quora, Dr Ramzi Amri writes that former Apple Computers CEO and founder Steve Jobs could have contributed to his own passing by forgoing conventional medical treatments in lieu of the alternative remedies he largely sought out instead.
“Let me cut to the chase: Mr. Jobs allegedly chose to undergo all sorts of alternative treatment options before opting for conventional medicine,” Amri writes in his article published this week to Quora. “Given the circumstances, it seems sound to assume that Mr. Jobs’ choice for alternative medicine has eventually led to an unnecessarily early death.”
After revealing his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in October 2003, it was reported that Jobs was attempting to treat the disease by undergoing a special diet. Fortune magazine reported on it at the time that Jobs only consumed certain foods for nine months in an attempt to stop the cancer in its tracks. Staffers at San Francisco’s Greens vegetarian restaurant told the Cult of Mac website that Jobs often hit up their Silicon Valley eatery with his physician, Dr. Dean Ornish.
“Steve Jobs was always in there with his doctor,” said one.”He was treating his cancer.”
While Jobs was known to practice a strict pescatarian diet during his own treatment, one source at the restaurant added that Jobs also insisted that his meals be cooked without any pans.
“He was assertive, but not an asshole,” the staffer said.
“It’s safe to say he was hoping to find a solution that would avoid surgery,” one source person familiar with Jobs’ cancer bout told CNN back in 2008. “I don’t know if he truly believed that was possible. The odd thing is, for us what seemed like an alternative type of thing, for him is normal. It’s not out of the ordinary for Steve.”
Added another person close to the matter: “There was genuine concern on the part of several board members that he may not have been doing the best thing for his health. But Steve is Steve. He can be pretty stubborn.”
Dr. Roderich Schwarz, chairman of surgical oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, told CNN then that that stubbornness occurs every now and then in his patients. “If they believe an herbal diet can do miracles, they have to make the decision. Every once in a while you have somebody who decides something you wish they wouldn’t,” he said.
Jobs continued his alternative treatment for months before eventually reaching out to traditional practices, including the surgery that could have aided in prolonging his life, which some say now came too little too late.
“Surgery is the only treatment modality that can result in cure,” Dr. Jeffrey Norton, chief of surgical oncology at Stanford and pancreatic cancer expert, wrote in a 2006 journal article.
Dr. Amri adds in his recent piece, “In many cases, a simple enucleation (just cutting out the tumor with a safe margin around it) is enough and leaves no residual side-effects.” Unfortunately, he says that Jobs’ hesitance to go under the knife could have cost him his life.
Amri also writes that in his own research, the survival rate of pancreatic cancer patients that underwent appropriate surgical procedures were as high as 100 percent.