Steve Jobs, the tech visionary and founder of Apple Inc. (NSDQ:AAPL) who died earlier this month after a long struggle with cancer, may have been saved had he stuck with conventional medicine, according to a cancer specialist.
Jobs may have gone as long as two years without conventional cancer treatment, opting instead for "alternative mumbo jumbo" while his cancer likely spread through his body, Harvard Medical School researcher Ramzi Amri wrote.
"Though his tumor might have originated in his pancreas, we’re not speaking of the dreaded pancreatic adenocarcinoma that has such a horrible prognosis and makes up for 95 percent of pancreatic tumors," Amri wrote. "Given the circumstances it seems sound to assume that Mr. Jobs’ choice for alternative medicine could have led to an unnecessarily early death."
Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004. He has been cited as saying that he had an islet-cell tumor, a form with a much more successful treatment rate than pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Success rates have been as high as 100 percent over 10 years for some subsets of the islet-cell disease and it can often be treated through surgical removal.
Furthermore, the cancer was caught early and cited as an insulinoma, "one of the best treatable subtypes," according to Amri.
The cancer doc was quick to add that he had no inside knowledge of the case and never treated Jobs, but felt the disease shouldn’t have gone as far as it did given the nature of the cancer and the options for treatment. Jobs waited so long, Amri wrote, that he had to have his pancreas removed and undergo a liver transplant.
"We then saw the tumor slowly draining the life out him. It was a horrible thing to see him lose weight and slowly turn into a skin and bones form of himself," Amri wrote.
The lesson becomes one of quick action and reliance on scientifically supported methods of treatment, he added.
"Jobs was a hippie back in the day, and a conventional medicine skeptic now. His reaction to the disease gave the disease time to spread," Amri wrote. "Sadly, even for one of the greatest personalities of the last 100 years, there will be no exception, and badly treated cancer is just as deadly for him as for anyone else."