Steve Jobs regretted trying to beat cancer with alternative medicine


Steve Jobs died regretting that he had spent so long attempting to treat his cancer with alternative medicine before agreeing to undergo surgery, his biographer has disclosed.

The Apple chief executive, who died after a pancreatic tumour spread elsewhere, delayed having operations and chemotherapy for nine months after the disease was discovered in October 2003.

In spite of pleas from family and friends, he tried to cure himself through acupuncture sessions, drinking special fruit juices, visiting "spiritualists" and using other treatments he found on the internet.

Some cancer experts have said that Mr Jobs may have extended his life or even survived if he had promptly tackled his cancer aggressively with scientifically proven medical treatments.

"We talked about this a lot," Isaacson told a television interview. "He wanted to talk about it, how he regretted it. I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner."

Asked why "such a smart man could do such a stupid thing", Isaacson said: "I think he felt: if you ignore something you don't want to exist, you can have magical thinking. It had worked for him in the past. He would regret it."

Mr Jobs's wife, Laurene Powell, told the biographer: "The big thing was he really was not ready to open his body. It's hard to push someone to do that." She pleaded: "The body exists to serve the spirit".

Several other Jobs confidantes, including Mona Simpson, his sister, and Art Levinson, an Apple board member, pushed him to embrace conventional medicine. "I told him he was crazy," said Andrew Grove, the former head of the computer chip company Intel.

When he eventually agreed to treatment, Mr Jobs went to great expense to ensure that he was given the most pioneering work available, Isaacson writes, having his DNA sequenced for $100,000.

Isaacson, who interviewed Mr Jobs more than 40 times over two years, states that this allowed Mr Jobs's doctors to tailor his drugs to target defective molecular pathways in his body. But eventual surgery revealed that the cancer had spread to tissue surrounding his pancreas.