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
132 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
132 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
132 months ago
We're all fallible.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
helix21 Avatar
132 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
132 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
132 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

telsa cyberwhistle

Elon Musk Urges Customers to Buy 'Tesla Cyberwhistle' Instead of Apple Polishing Cloth

Wednesday December 1, 2021 4:01 am PST by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has encouraged customers to buy the "Cyberwhistle" for $50 instead of Apple's much-discussed Polishing Cloth. The product page, which Musk shared on Twitter on Tuesday evening, offers a limited edition stainless steel whistle with the same distinctive design of the Tesla Cybertruck:Inspired by Cybertruck, the limited-edition Cyberwhistle is a premium collectible made from ...
iPhone SE Cosmopolitan Clean

New iPhone SE Reportedly on Track for Release in First Quarter of 2022

Tuesday November 30, 2021 8:08 am PST by
Apple plans to release a third-generation iPhone SE in the first quarter of 2022, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce. If this timeframe proves to be accurate, we can expect the device to be released by the end of March. As previously rumored, TrendForce said the new iPhone SE will remain a mid-range smartphone with added support for 5G:In terms of product development, Apple is...
maxresdefault

Five Features to Look Forward to in the 2022 MacBook Air

Tuesday November 30, 2021 1:51 pm PST by
In 2022, Apple is going to release an updated version of the MacBook Air with some of the biggest design changes that we've seen since 2010, when Apple introduced the 11 and 13-inch size options. In the video below, we highlight five features that you need to know about the new machine. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. No More Wedge Design - Current MacBook...
2017 apple tv

Cyber Monday: Original Apple TV 4K Drops to $99.99 for Amazon Prime Members

Monday November 29, 2021 12:01 pm PST by
We've been tracking Apple product and accessory deals for Cyber Monday 2021 today, and now Woot is offering a solid discount on the previous generation 32GB Apple TV 4K. You can get this device in new condition for just $99.99 if you're an Amazon Prime member. Note that this sale will last for one day only. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
apple top apps games 2020

Apple Reveals the Most Downloaded iOS Apps and Games of 2021

Thursday December 2, 2021 12:05 am PST by
Along with naming its editorial picks for the top apps and games of 2021, Apple today shared charts for the most downloaded free and paid apps and games in the United States across 2021. The number one most downloaded free iPhone app was TikTok, followed by YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. The top paid iPhone apps included Procreate Pocket, HotSchedules, The Wonder Weeks, and Touch...
Mac Notebook Upgrade Program

Apple Introduces New MacBook Upgrade Program for Business Partners

Monday November 29, 2021 7:38 am PST by
In association with CIT as the financing partner, Apple has launched a new Mac Upgrade Program for small businesses and Apple business partners that allow companies to easily distribute and upgrade their fleets of MacBooks at an affordable price to all of their workers. As outlined on CIT's website, shared by Max Weinbach, Apple Business Partners can distribute the 13-inch MacBook Pro,...
airpods prototype translucent

Transparent AirPods and 29W Power Adapter Prototypes Surface in Photos

Tuesday November 30, 2021 7:16 am PST by
Images of transparent prototype AirPods and a 29W Apple power adapter have been shared on Twitter by Apple device collector Giulio Zompetti. The prototypes, which appear to be either first-generation or second-generation AirPods, feature clear plastic along the stem and around the outer side of the earbud, with the normal white plastic on the inner side of the earbud. Transparent casings are ...
apple view concept right corner

Apple Planning to Replace the iPhone With AR Headset in 10 Years

Wednesday December 1, 2021 2:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to replace the iPhone with an augmented reality (AR) headset in 10 years, a process that is apparently due to start as soon as next year with the launch of a head-mounted device, according to a recent report. Concept render of Apple's rumored AR headset by Antonio De Rosa In a note to investors seen by MacRumors, eminent analyst Ming-Chi Kuo explained that "Apple's goal is...