Steve Jobs Regretted Early Decision to Delay Cancer Surgery

stevejobscovertiteled
With Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Steve Jobs set for release next Monday, tidbits from the book have been surfacing from time to time. But the most significant revelations to become public ahead of the book's launch will come on Sunday, when an interview with Isaacson airs on the CBS show 60 Minutes. CBS is offering a brief preview of the segment, which will reveal that Jobs regretted an early decision to delay surgery for his pancreatic cancer back in 2004.

"I've asked [Jobs why he didn't get an operation then] and he said, 'I didn't want my body to be opened...I didn't want to be violated in that way,'" Isaacson recalls. So he waited nine months, while his wife and others urged him to do it, before getting the operation, reveals Isaacson. Asked by [60 Minutes correspondent Steve] Kroft how such an intelligent man could make such a seemingly stupid decision, Isaacson replies, "I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something, if you don't want something to exist, you can have magical thinking...we talked about this a lot," he tells Kroft. "He wanted to talk about it, how he regretted it....I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner."

Isaacson goes on to note that Jobs continued to receive cancer treatments after his surgery, even as he was playing down the seriousness of the issue and telling people that he had been cured. By the time of his surgery, the cancer had already spread beyond his pancreas to the surrounding tissues, suggesting that earlier surgery that could have caught the cancer before it spread might have given Jobs a much better chance.


Isaacson's interview, which will air on the 60 Minutes episode beginning at 7:00 PM Eastern Time Sunday on CBS, offers a number of other tidbits from Jobs' life, including his views on death and the effect of extreme wealth on some of Apple's early employees, a perspective that shaped how he dealt with his own wealth.

Top Rated Comments

Mattie Num Nums Avatar
143 months ago
I am 29 and had been very sick for 2 years and recently they found a lump on my pancreas. The first thing I said to them was lets do it lets get rid of this! After having my gall bladder and bile duct taken out last month and getting the thumbs up that I am so far cancer free I can say it was the best decision I made.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lamar0607 Avatar
143 months ago
Very sad that he regrets it--my wife's mother died of pancreatic...if there was a window to have solved it, and you know it, you always take it.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ugg Avatar
143 months ago
We're all fallible.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
helix21 Avatar
143 months ago
I have a feeling this book is going to very revealing, more so than what people anticipate and I feel many people won't like what they read.

I'm in absolutely awe of the man and was shattered when I heard about his first diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. As a medic I can tell you a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is sadly like a ticking time bomb. In those 5 years, Jobs envisioned us with the iPhone and iPad! However, not getting small cell pancreatic carcinoma operated and giving it the chance to metastasise is medically, ridiculously stupid.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HarryKeogh Avatar
143 months ago
It's amazing what a different mindset I am from that.

If I found out I had cancer I'd ask the doc "um, can you cut me open like now?"

Sad when a good person could have possibly bought some more time by acting quicker.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
firestarter Avatar
143 months ago
It's impossible to separate Steve's rejection of cancer treatment from his brilliance as an innovator and CEO.

A more risk averse guy, with less of a sense of drive and infallibility would have got the operation sooner. But a more risk averse guy wouldn't have taken on the job of Apple CEO for a second time and rebuilt the company.

If a parallel universe was inhabited by 'sensible Steve' who got the cancer op immediately, I'm pretty sure that none of us would have heard of him. What sort of sensible person would continue to work long hours, if they had a great family sitting at home and a billion already in the bank? I wouldn't!

So this 'stupidity' is just the flip side of the coin of Steve's brilliant personality. Yes, he died sooner than he should have - but he also accomplished more during that time than most of us ever will.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

USB C Over Lightning Feature

EU Passes Law to Switch iPhone to USB-C by End of 2024

Tuesday October 4, 2022 3:30 am PDT by
The European Parliament today voted overwhelmingly in favor of enforcing USB-C as a common charging port across a wide range of consumer electronic devices, including the iPhone and AirPods, by the end of 2024. The proposal, known as a directive, forces all consumer electronics manufacturers who sell their products in Europe to ensure that a wide range of devices feature a USB-C port. This...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

10 New iOS 16 Features Coming Later This Year

Monday October 3, 2022 2:41 pm PDT by
iOS 16 was released to the public three weeks ago with a customizable Lock Screen, the ability to edit iMessages, improvements to Focus modes, and much more. And in the coming months, iPhone and iPad users have even more new features to look forward to. We've rounded up 10 new features coming to the iPhone and iPad later this year, according to Apple. Many of the features are part of iOS...
ipad pro m1 feature

Gurman: Apple Event This October Remains Unlikely, No Touch ID for iPhone 15

Sunday October 2, 2022 6:41 am PDT by
Apple is developing new iPad Pro, Mac, and Apple TV models, and at least some of these products will be released in October, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. However, Gurman continues to believe that Apple is unlikely to hold an event this month. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman said "the big iPhone 14 unveiling last month was probably it for Apple in 2022 in...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.0.3 With More Bug Fixes Following iPhone 14 Launch

Monday October 3, 2022 7:53 am PDT by
iOS 16.0.2 was released last month with several bug fixes for iPhone 14 issues, excessive copy and paste permission prompts, and more. Now, evidence suggests that Apple is planning to release iOS 16.0.3 with additional bug fixes. Evidence of an upcoming iOS 16.0.3 software update has shown up in MacRumors analytics logs, which have been a reliable indicator in the past. There are several...
Apple SIM Card

Apple SIM No Longer Available for Activating New Cellular Data Plans on iPads

Sunday October 2, 2022 8:04 am PDT by
As of October 1, Apple SIM is no longer available for activating new cellular data plans on supported iPad models, according to an Apple support document. Introduced in 2014, the Apple SIM was designed to allow iPad users to activate cellular data plans from multiple carriers around the world. Initially, the Apple SIM was a physical nano-SIM card, but it was embedded inside later iPad Pro...
maxresdefault

Video: AirPods Pro 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort II

Monday October 3, 2022 12:50 pm PDT by
Apple on September 23 officially launched the second-generation version of the AirPods Pro, introducing updated Active Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Transparency, improved sound, and more. Right around the same time, Bose introduced new QuietComfort II earbuds with many similar features, so we thought we'd compare the two to see which has the edge. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for ...
General YouTube Feature 1

You May Soon Need to Be a YouTube Premium Subscriber to Watch 4K Videos

Monday October 3, 2022 4:29 am PDT by
YouTube may make watching videos in 4K quality on the platform exclusive to only YouTube Premium subscribers, according to screenshots posted by users on Twitter and Reddit. On Reddit (1,2) and Twitter, some users have started to recently notice that on iOS, and presumably across other platforms also, YouTube is now saying that in order to watch videos in 4K, the user must be a paying...
dynamic island alan dye

Apple Executives Talk About iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island in New Interview

Sunday October 2, 2022 10:48 am PDT by
In a new interview, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, and Apple's vice president of human interface design, Alan Dye, sat down to discuss the thinking behind the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island and how it was developed. During the interview with the Japanese magazine Axis, Federighi, who oversees the development of iOS, said Dynamic Island represents the...