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Biography: Steve Jobs Regretted Delaying Possible Life-Saving Surgery


"I really didn't want them to open up my body." -- USA Today: Book also sheds light on why Jobs abandoned Christianity --

SAN FRANCISCO (The Blaze/AP) -- In the latest biography about Steve Jobs he is portrayed as a skeptic. He gave up on religion because he was troubled by starving children and called some Apple executive "corrupt." But was he also skeptical about a surgery that could have saved his life?

In "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson, to be released Monday, Isaacson reports that Jobs did reject surgery and chose the herbal route instead. But doctors state they don't know if they delay made a difference.

In this CBS News report, Jobs's official biographer says although he eventually had the surgery nine months later, he regretted waiting:

Jobs learned in October 2003 that he had a neuroendocrine tumor -- a relatively rare type of pancreatic cancer that normally grows more slowly and is therefore more treatable. Instead of opting for surgery, he took on a vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies and other treatments he found online, and even consulted a psychic. He also was influenced by a doctor who ran a clinic that advised juice fasts, bowel cleansings and other unproven approaches, the book says, before finally having surgery in July 2004.

Isaacson, quoting Jobs, writes in the book: "`I really didn't want them to open up my body, so I tried to see if a few other things would work,' he told me years later with a hint of regret."

Jobs died Oct. 5, at age 56, after a battle with cancer. Jobs resigned as Apple's CEO on Aug. 24, six weeks before he died.

The Associated Press reports that doctors said Thursday that it was not clear whether the delayed treatment made a difference in Jobs' chances for survival.

"People live with these cancers for far longer than nine months before they're even diagnosed," so it's not known how quickly one can prove fatal, said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Michael Pishvaian, a pancreatic cancer expert at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, said people often are in denial after a cancer diagnosis, and some take a long time to accept recommended treatments.

"We've had many patients who have had bad outcomes when they have delayed treatment. Nine months is certainly a significant period of time to delay," he said.

Fortune magazine reported in 2008 that Jobs tried alternative treatments because he was suspicious of mainstream medicine.

Jobs told Isaacson that he tried various diets, including one of fruits and vegetables. On the naming of Apple, he said he was "on one of my fruitarian diets." He said he had just come back from an apple farm, and thought the name sounded "fun, spirited and not intimidating."

Isaacson will appear Sunday on "60 Minutes." CBS News, which airs the program, released excerpts of the book Thursday.

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