macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001


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.

Article Link: Steve Jobs Regretted Early Decision to Delay Cancer Surgery


macrumors member
Jun 15, 2010
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.


macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
While this is all speculation, in general, with cancer, the earlier it's detected and treated, the better one's prospects. It might not have completely cured it (cancer is a vicious disease), acting sooner might have given him another month, year, decade or longer.


macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2008
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.


macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2009
I was just telling someone a couple of days back that Jobs will still be with us had he not tried to cure his cancer with special diets right after he was diagnosed and instead had gone for surgery right away. How unfortunate!. But it is too easy to drive ourselves crazy with such contra-factual deliberations!
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macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
We all have this kind of thinking, sad to say. It’s part of our flawed human brains!


macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2004
New York City, aka Big Apple
Now, that's just tragic - especially since neoendocrine pancreatic cancer has a better cure rate that adenocarcinoma. The earlier the therapy the better, and the only curative approach is surgery in this case. Chemo is adjuvant.


macrumors 6502
Aug 25, 2009
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.


macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2006
Maybe there was deeper reasoning into this. It was a time when Apple was nearing its prime with the iPhone launch ahead, and he didn't want to take that risk. Maybe he was afraid to be that 5% that dies due to complications of the surgery and felt he couldn't walk away from Apple that soon?


macrumors 68020
Jul 1, 2009
Hard to believe that somebody so intelligent and with access to the best surgeons did not take advantage of that. He made it through so many things in life on sheer will -- I suppose that can train your way of thinking to be unprepared for something like cancer. Unfortunately his change of heart came a little too late. We never will know if earlier surgery would have saved his life, but it might have given him a better chance. In the end, surgery is an extremely personal decision.
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Mattie Num Nums

macrumors 68030
Mar 5, 2009
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.


macrumors 68030
Dec 29, 2010
"Crazy ones", indeed.

Note: I don't mean this in a negative way. I mean it in the sense that he was going to do things his way until the end. It may have cost him his life or at least a portion of it, but he did things his way. Ironic.


macrumors 68000
Feb 18, 2003
Los Angeles
Not so fast

Of course, it was the wrong thing to try to cure this with herbs and so on. But who know? If they had opened him up sooner, maybe the cancer would still be outside the pancreas. You don't know.


macrumors 68030
Jun 20, 2005
this book is going to be very interesting.

I don't think Jobs did anything that thousands of other ppl don't do on a daily basis. The threat of mortality must be eye opening and scary in so many ways that I don't know what I would do given the same situation. I'd like to think I would get it cut out as soon as possible, but who knows.

The same can be said for people who have all the #1 factors for heart attacks or have had cancer, but still smoke etc...

however, still sad.


Jan 15, 2003
I hope that his regret may spark people who are diagnosed to seek early treatment, and to encourage people to be screened more regularly.


macrumors member
Jun 17, 2007
0 such an intelligent man could make such a seemingly stupid decision...

This. Seriously. I don't care how smart you are, cancer is the one thing you DONT !@#$ AROUND WITH.


Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
Washington DC
When you ask a human to confront their own mortality the answers we come up with rarely contain the same logic we apply to the rest of the world. You certainly can't criticize someone for the conclusions they come to in situations like this.

I'm sorry to hear that he regretted it, though.

:( so sad that he could have survived. He just let the cancer grow for 6 months

It should be clarified that you should be saying he could have had "a better chance" rather than "have survived."

No one's saying they know what would have happened if he had.
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