Friday, October 14, 2011

Harvard Doctor Says Steve Jobs Could Have Lived If He Wanted To


Oh, the lines. I saw a line for the iPhone start forming yesterday around noon and I just don't see the need to wait for 24 hours in a line for a phone that you can get pretty easily in a week or two. Are you that desperate to be first to get it? Anyway, with that going on there is a doctor at Harvard who says that Steve Jobs would have been alive today if he had listened to his doctor and taken conventional medicine instead of all the alternative treatments he did. Steve finally started taking conventional medicine but by that time it was too late.


Dr. Ramzi Amri is an expert on pancreatic cancer and says that Steve Jobs had a rarely fatal form of cancer and "Given the circumstances, it seems sound to assume that Mr Jobs' choice for alternative medicine has eventually led to an unnecessarily early death."

Apparently Jobs tried to cure his cancer through a special diet and other means, and the doctor says that Jobs would be alive today if he had listened to his doctors.

49 comments:

ms snarky said...

that's pretty much a medical establishment standard answer, but if it was a highly curable form of the disease, that's just sad.

Ida Blankenship said...

Um, that doctor may be right, but it's a little too late to opine on this subject. Doogie Howser should have kept his piehole closed.

chopchop said...

This doctor was cute until he opened his famewhore mouth.

Sue Ellen Mishkey said...

I can't speak for Steve Jobs, but I would be running to the chemo room for treatment if I got cancer.

B626 said...

Kind of hard to prove now, isn't it? I am sure that with all of Steve's ahem, resources, he lived LONGER than the average guy with this illness.

RocketQueen said...

I think that's a pretty disgusting thing to say after someone's passed, and entirely self-serving. Does this guy know EXACTLY what treatments Jobs received? Maybe he started off with conventional treatment but it didn't work. Maybe I'm overreacting, but I really hate it when people talk shit about someone who's dead...I don't care about your opinion, asshole. I'm sure Steve would still like to be around, too.

Daveb said...

I thought he got a liver transplant; doesn't sound like not listening to doctors to me.

Momster said...

Doogie Howser, lol. . .

I thought pancreatic cancer was rarely curable, regardless of it being treated with alternative or conventional methods?

Amy said...

To read what this guy wrote about Steve Jobs, you'd think Jobs was an uneducated dipshit slacker -- which surely the world knows he was not. Sometimes I really hate the holier-than-thou aspect of the medical establishment.

surfer said...

I'm with you, Sue Ellen.

@RQ - no, it's pretty common knowledge that when he was diagnosed in 2003, he spent a year trying all sorts of nontraditional treatments, then had surgery in 2004 (I believe it was the Whipple procedure). Then in 2008 or 2009, he had a liver transplant. A lot of doctors felt that if he had started (traditional) treatment right away, he would have had additional years. And it's very rare that doctors will agree to a liver transplant once the cancer has metastasized. Sadly, pancreatic cancer has one of the highest morbidity rates.

FS said...

What this doctor is saying has been said before, but it does come off as icky now that Jobs has died. He did get a liver transplant and conventional treatment but when he was first diagnosed he went the alternative treatment route. I dont understand why people do this. There is soooooo much research about cancer drugs, and almost none about most of these silly alternatives.Yes, the conventional treatments are brutal, they take you to the edge of death to kill the cancer and then do everything to bring you back from that edge, but they work in most cases.

It's possible that he could still be alive, but only someone who has seen his entire medical history since the diagnosis should be commenting on that, not some guy that never met him.

maggiemei said...

How would this guy know what kind of treatment Steve Jobs was getting? Medical privacy laws prohibit that. He is only speaking on rumor.
Pancreatic cancer is notoriously had to beat, but he lived for many years after his initial diagnosis, partly because he had 2 surgeries,to remove the cancer, and then a liver transplant. Surgery is definitely "conventional medicine". He was also fairly young and extrememly well off. he had enough money to buy any medical treatment he wanted. I don't know what other treatments he chose, but that is his choice, not any Harvard doctor's.

maggiemei said...

@ FS-

You would be surprised at how little is known about Pancreatic cancer. My father has the other type (the more fatal type), and there are only 2 different chemo drugs used to treat it. and he can only take one of them now, because of the side effects. There is lass known about this type of cancer, because it is rarely caught in the early stages and the patients usually die within the first 2 years. The doctors can't do long term treatments.
Compared this to breast cancer, which gets a lot of the research monies, a whole month (October) to raise money, its own color (pink), and a page long list of different chemo treatments that patients can try and get the right combo that works for them.

maggiemei said...

@ Surfer-

It is unlikely that Jobs got the whipple procedure, since his type of pancreatic cancer is found in the tail of the pancreas, and the whipple removes the head of the pancreas, as well as the gall bladder, common bile duct, and part of the small intestime, and reconfigures all the plumbing there. My dad was scheduled for a whipple, but they found mets on his liver, and stopped the procedure. This disease is brutal.

clatie said...

What someone does or doesn't do when confronted with a cancer diagnosis is absolutely NO ONE ELSE'S BUSINESS. I watched my mother suffer through miserable chemo and radiation treatments and I still lost her. I don't know what I would do.

Lucky for me, no one will go on television and speculate about it.

This is in the worst possible fame-whoring taste and, honestly, I am sorry Enty ran this and gave this unscrupulous person more attention.

Julie said...

@maggiemei--

So sorry your dad and you and the rest of his loved ones have to go thru this. I wish him the best.

surfer said...

@ maggiemei - I don't presume to know all the details relating to his treatment, but I did hear about him having the Whipple procedure a number of times through the years. Whether or not he actually did is anyone's guess.

Dianne P said...

He has a neuroendocrine tumor of the islet cells, a completely different animal from the other type of pancreatic cancer.

I am sure Steve Jobs was advised to have chemotherapy and he chose not to. I am also sure he had plenty of time afterwards to make peace with the fact that his decision may have cost him some years of his life.

I think at least 9 out of 10 people would say from the get-go, "Give me chemo, surgery, radiation, whatever you've got and get this fucker out of me." But we are not all the same and maybe hearing that his cancer was usually not fatal made him a little overly confident. Maybe his DOCTORS made a mistake in presenting the risk-benefit picture to him, or thought his cancer was less aggressive than it was.

Pancreatic cancer sucks and needs more funding. Period.

Nosey Parker said...

I work at The Ahwanhee Hotel. Steve Jobs married his wife Laurene there in 1991. Last March they came back to celebrate their 20 year anniversary. He looked thin, but I hoped he'd get better.

surfer said...

@clatie & maggiemei - sorry about your parents; I also lost my father to cancer.

Right now one of my friends is end-stage cancer (brain tumor, stage IV glio). He was diagnosed in February, can no longer speak and is paralyzed on one side. Aside from a biopsy to determine whether his cancer was primary or metastasized, my friend chose not to have ANY treatment, as he was told it wouldn't prolong his life, just make the symptoms a little more bearable. I was really upset that he wouldn't try anything to possibly extend his life. But it was his choice, and I guess at the end of the day, we all have the right to determine how we live, and to a certain extent, how we will die.

Carrie L. said...

Maggiemei, I agree with you that there are a lot of other cancers that tend to get overlooked, especially when compared to breast cancer. Considering I have family & close friends who have suffered with every type of cancer except breast cancer, I sometimes get frustrated with the lack of support I see out there for cancers that are just as serious & deadly.

My grandpa was diagnosed with leukemia in October 2005 & was given 1-2 weeks to live. It was because of an alternative, non-medically approved diet, along with his strong will, that kept him with us through his favorite holiday - Christmas Eve. He died three days later. He could have done medical treatments, but it would have only extended his life, but there would have been no quality of life. There was no chance of remission or a cure. He did what was right for him, and the family supported him.

I assume Jobs discussed his decision with his family & did what was right for him. People can have opinions on what he should & shouldn't have done, but I think it's insensitive to the family and disrespectful. In life I think most of us make the best decisions we can, and I'm sure Jobs did the same.

maggiemei said...

@ Diane P.

"Pancreatic cancer sucks and needs more funding. Period."

Word.

maggiemei said...

reading back , it might seem like I was trying to rag on breast cancer charities. i wasn't. i think what they do is amazing, and I just wish some other cancers had just half of their funding and visibility. And the simple fact is that most people don't die from breast cancer anymore, with early detection and advanced medicines. That is awesome.

I just wished other cancers had the same advantages.

FS said...

No maggiemei, I'm not surprised at all. I learned years ago about the politics of the cancer charity/research industry, and the havoc that has come because of the Komen foundation. I lost my mother to breast cancer after one treatment (she was 70 and her underlying health was much worse than any of us knew) but she would have gone broke paying for the treatments. She didn't qualify for any type of assistance despite her age. Her low income wasn't low enough. The number one cause of death for women in the US is heart disease, but you wouldn't know that if you didn't go looking for the info. I don't think heart disease has a month, a ribbon, a million walk-a-thons, or cute office accessories at Staples either.

Oh sorry, I went off on a rant.

MISCH said...

My friend died of liver cancer on 2001, they opened him up took a good look removed his spleen and who knows what else closed him up and gave him the bad news...within 6 months he was gone.
Somehow I think Steve Jobs did what he thought would be best for himself and his family..
What's the saying"hindsight is always 20/20".

Cheryl said...

Easy for Dr. know-it-all to say. My dad died of lung cancer. He chose not to have chemo, he had home hospice care and died surrounded by family after about six months. My best friend's mother also had lung cancer, received a brutal course of chemo, went to a hospice center and died surrounded by family after about six months. Both of them did what they thought was best.

maggiemei said...

@ FS
The rant is appreciated. I have the same one almost every week, especially this month.

bluebonnetmom said...

I would be the first to line up for whatever the Doctors could throw at me with Chemo or whatever. But, this is a individual choice and we all have the right to live and die as we choose. I won't trash Mr. Jobs for his decision.

maggiemei said...

@ surfer and all other well wishers

Thanks for the compassion. Dad is still kicking it 20 months after his diagnosis, which is beating the odds. His 70th birthday is next month, and we weren't sure he would see it 2 years ago.

Katie H said...

Haha, I'm sorry, this is totally off topic to the discussion, but that doctor totally reminds me of Daniel Faraday from Lost.

crila16 said...

@Katie H...Lol!!! I agree and was thinking the same thing.

FS said...

Maggie, that is awesome for your family. Hope you all stay strong together through this ordeal.

I am not ungrateful for the work of the Komen foundation, thanks to them we have close to gender equity in medical research and before them we had almost none. But, they have become a corporation (which is why they have to do so much fundraising to pay for their overhead) and they have kind of sucked the air out of the room for other cancers and other issues in women's health.

Okay I really will stop now. Phew. Sorry for the distraction. Happy weekend everyone.

Cancan said...

I don't think it's selfserving or out of line. Hopefully it will save lives by convincing other sick people to seek conventional help quickly, rather than dicking around with Suzanne Somers-type snake oil.

Maja. With a J. said...

"I assume Jobs discussed his decision with his family & did what was right for him. People can have opinions on what he should & shouldn't have done, but I think it's insensitive to the family and disrespectful. In life I think most of us make the best decisions we can, and I'm sure Jobs did the same."


Also, if I was ever diagnosed with any form of life threatening disease, I would definitely look at all the alternatives for treatments, whether approved by my western doctor or not.

Maja. With a J. said...

I meant to say that I totally agree with the quote I posted...

RocketQueen said...

"I assume Jobs discussed his decision with his family & did what was right for him. People can have opinions on what he should & shouldn't have done, but I think it's insensitive to the family and disrespectful. In life I think most of us make the best decisions we can, and I'm sure Jobs did the same."

^ Yes. This.

feraltart said...

My mum had stomach cancer that metastasised to her bowel. She had chemo but died. My dad had prostate cancer and had radiation treatment. He lived. However, my dad has said he will never undergo treatment again, and if cancer comes back he will just be made comfortable. I totally agree with anyone's choice as to how they treat a disease. Their body, their life. Conventional treatment is horrific, even if it is life saving.

nunaurbiz said...

To some people, it's more important to live as you like than to live longer. Sounds like that was the case with Steve Jobs. I just hope he found peace at the end and didn't worry about things like this.

pomme said...

WIKIPEDIA :" Exocrine pancreatic cancer (adenocarcinoma and less common variants) typically has a poor prognosis, partly because the cancer usually causes no symptoms early on, leading to locally advanced or metastatic disease at time of diagnosis.
Pancreatic cancer may occasionally result in diabetes. Insulin production is hampered, and it has been suggested the cancer can also prompt the onset of diabetes and vice versa.[66] It can be associated with pain, fatigue, weight loss, jaundice, and weakness. Additional symptoms are discussed above.
For pancreatic cancer:
For all stages combined, the 1-year relative survival rate is 25%, and the 5-year survival is estimated as less than 5% [67] to 6%.[2]
For local disease, the 5-year survival is approximately 20%.[2][3]
For locally advanced and for metastatic disease, which collectively represent over 80%[3] to 85-90%[11] of individuals, the median survival is about 10 and 6 months, respectively.[4] Without active treatment, metastatic pancreatic cancer has a median survival of 3–5 months;[11] complete remission is rare.[11]
Outcomes with pancreatic endocrine tumors, many of which are benign and completely without clinical symptoms, are much better, as are outcomes with symptomatic benign tumors; even with actual pancreatic endocrine cancers, outcomes are rather better, but variable.[44][68]

In 2010, an estimated 43,000 people in the US were diagnosed with pancreas cancer[2] and almost 37,000 died from the disease;[2] pancreatic cancer has one of the highest fatality rates of all cancers, and is the fourth-highest cancer killer among both men and women worldwide.[69] Although it accounts for only 2.5% of new cases, pancreatic cancer is responsible for 6% of cancer deaths each year.[70]"

so shut up doctor and RIP Steve Jobs

maggiemei said...

@ pomme

That article proved the doctor kind of right, because jobs had an endocrine tumor, which irs easy to beat. it doesn't sound like his tumor was benign, though. And he lived for an additional 7 years after diagnosis, which is huge!

green eyed lawyer said...

My mother had the same type of cancer and while it does move much more slowly than other cancers it is cancer nonetheless and it can and will kill you - hence both my mother and Steve Jobs are gone. I really despise when doctors who have never undergone the treatments they so highly recommend second guess a patient and family's treatment decisions. Awful comments by a true ASS

Jasmine said...

When I worked in Calistoga in various Spas we saw all sorts of people come in for rest and relaxation who had various stages of cancer and other illnesses. I personally heard and saw the outcome of some people who had cancer and through alternative medicine and certain diet regimentations, they are on the road to recovery, sometimes despite their Western medical diagnosis of early death. Chemo poisons your fucking body- if you need to do it, than i understand that but when someone feels sick and horrible from an illness they sometimes dont want to add to that feeling by poisoning themselves, even if its for the greater good of a possible healing.

I personally WOULD try eastern medicine and more alternative medicines first. Western medicine often ignores homeopathic remedies that have been used in clans and tribes around the world for centuries; they ignore eastern medicine that has been around since before THEY were around. Being a massage therapist and accupuncturist used to be ridiculed in western medicine- now i massage patients whose doctors recommmend they get deep tissue for blood circulation.

I dont mean to go off on a tangent here but I will say that regardless of Jobs' decision making resulting in his early demise or not- it is a COMMON practice for a long time for western medicine to poo poo on medicine that is out side the box.

To me THAT is what this doctor is trying to do. I believe even if Jobs HAD lived, this doctor's opionion on Jobs seeking alternative medicine would still be negative.

And I say fuck off to that.

penelope said...

@Jasmine-- I agree with you. IMO it is outrageous that this "doctor" would even open his mouth and speak about the choices Jobs made in battling his cancer. That is no business of anyone except Steve Jobs.

I have known people with Cancer who have gone the "Western Way" of chemo and radiation, the alternative route, or a combination of both-- with mixed results. It is up to the individual and their beliefs. In fact, I know people whose Cancer was cured through alternative merdicine.

My mother died of colon cancer and went through chemotherapy (which did not work) and then radiation. She made it through 2 treatments, and could not continue. She then informed all of her children that she would rather die now then continue the radiation as she felt so sock from it that she knew it wasn't helping her. In fact, she kept throwing up black stuff.

She was never the same and died 2 months later. All of us believe the radiation hastened her death rather than helped her.

As a result, I will never condemn any person for their individual choices when it comes to treatment for cancer. And for some so-called expert on pancreatic cancer to be opening his mouth after the fact to say this about Jobs-- well, he should just keep his mouth shut.

Jasmine said...

I'm sorry for your mama's death Penelope.

I think sometimes when someone has had cancer before (as Jobs did)and it comes back, or when they have to have such an intensive round of chemo and are told to undergo multiple rounds----sometimes the dying can be more peaceful than the attempt to cure, ya know?

I had an Aunt Robbie die of Breast Cancer in 2001 (I was actually on the way to her funeral on 9/11/01 when the planes first struck. She did many rounds of chemo, it kept coming back, and she wanted to just enjoy the time she had left. She picked a day- Wednesday- and said something like 'Wednesday sounds like a nice day to die', very matter of factually, and had them take her off all the shit they were pumping in her body, and she had her two little boys with her and she passed away.

I think it takes an innumerable amount of bravery to do what my Aunt Robbie did. And to do what your mama did- which was to stop radiation because she wanted to enjoy what time she had left with you guys.

And I'm sure it took courage for Jobs too, in making the literally life and death decisions to seek treatment for his illness.

And for all of them, Robin, your mom, Jobs, these decisions were personal, private and took guts.

And for some person who did not know Jobs to sit back in his position of power as a doctor of only ONE KIND OF MEDICINE out there, and JUDGE that!?

What.a.piece.of.garbage.

And I know if my Aunt Robbie was around she woulda said the same thing :)

Unknown said...

Dr. needs to go back to Harvard to learn how to shut the f- up.

Mother Campfire said...

Maggimei, Pancreatic Cancer has its own color (purple) and its own month (November)...it just doesn't have as much money as boobs. One day?

I'm a volunteer and recommend you all join if you have time. Its a wretched disease and could use the support. :)

http://www.pancan.org/

iheartgoss said...

My dad actually has the exact same cancer as Steve Jobs had. Began at the same time and everything. My dad is still alive and has gone the traditional route. This cancer doesn't actually use chemo to treat it, it's surgical, but my dad was added into a trial and is still going strong. So, it makes me sad Steve Jobs did die because I don't think he needed to if he had just done what I would hope most doctors would suggest as a course of treatment.

Lelaina Pierce said...

I was surprised to read about the funding for pancreatic cancer. I can't add much more to the thread except to say that I'm sorry so many here have lost loved ones to cancer. :(

Man, I hate cancer. It can go suck a bag of dicks.

shehla said...

http://www.quora.com/Steve-Jobs/Why-did-Steve-Jobs-choose-not-to-effectively-treat-his-cancer

Just wanted to post the original piece this is based off of.