Did Steve Jobs Hurt His Chances Of Survival By Relying Too Heavily On Alternative Medicine?

Today will be like Christmas for thousands, if not millions, of people today who come into possession of a shiny new iPhone 4S. And sadly, our technological messiah, Steve Jobs, won’t be around to revel in it. But he could have been, according to a Harvard Medical School researcher and faculty member who told Gawker’s Ryan Tate that he’s spent a considerable amount of time researching the type of cancer Jobs battled.

“Let me cut to the chase: Mr. Jobs allegedly chose to undergo all sorts of alternative treatment options before opting for conventional medicine,” Ramzi Amri wrote in an extraordinarily detailed post to Quora, an online Q&A forum popular among Silicon Valley executives. “Given the circumstances, it seems sound to assume that Mr. Jobs’ choice for alternative medicine has eventually led to an unnecessarily early death.”

Amri went on to say that, even after entering conventional medical care, the Apple CEO seemed to eschew the most practical forms of treatment. Addressing the period when Jobs began to visibly shed weight, Amri wrote, “it seems that even during this recurrent phase, Mr. Jobs opted to dedicate his time to Apple as the disease progressed, instead of opting for chemotherapy or any other conventional treatment.”

Now, it should be noted that some medical experts are of the opinion that Jobs’ ability to seek out and pay for just about any treatment under available under the sun actually kept him alive much longer than someone stricken with the cancer he had normally would. However, Amri claims that the cancer could have been nipped in the bud if Jobs had not eschewed conventional medicine in the early going, something Amri thinks made his condition much worse.

According to a 2008 Fortune article, Jobs for nine months pursued “alternative methods to treat his pancreatic cancer, hoping to avoid [an] operation through a special diet.” The Buddhist vegetarian took this approach from the time he was diagnosed in October 2003 until at least the end of July 2004, when he underwent surgery at Stanford University Medical Center.

By then the cancer was so far along Jobs had to lose his pancreas and duodenum in a “Whipple procedure.” The cancer also spread to all the major parts of his liver. “The only reason he’d have a transplant,” wrote Amri, “would be that the tumor invaded all major parts of the liver, which takes a considerable amount of time.” Amri said the Whipple procedure and liver transplant were clear signs the cancer was out of control and should have been stopped earlier.

In other related news, look who was first in line this morning to get a new iPhone at the Apple Store in Los Gatos, California today.

Additionally, the Jobs tributes and stories keep pouring in. John Mayer, an avowed Apple fanboy, posted a sort of neat story about his interactions with Jobs on his Tumblr last night…

I first met Steve in 2003, over the phone, when I cold-called him to tell him I was a devout fan of all things Apple and would love to be involved in whatever way I could with the company. I remember the call extremely well; me on my hotel room bed, fidgeting and doodling and circuitously explaining that all I could really explain was that I wanted to have a relationship. I got nervous at one point and started second guessing myself and my intentions for calling, to which Steve replied “don’t worry, I have a very good bullshit detector.” I found it very comfortable to be myself around him from that moment on.

The bullshit detector must have stayed silent because In the following months and years I was invited to help introduce products and software at several Macworld keynote addresses in San Francisco. I got to know him a bit in our time together on and off the stage. I remember Steve as being almost iridescent; one second he would be talking to you about “architecture” as it related to digital data flow, and then in a microsecond turn his head a different way and mention Bob Dylan or a killer sushi place and just be the biggest rock star on the planet.

in Spring of 2008, RIM (makers of the Blackberry) approached me about sponsoring my upcoming summer tour, and as I got closer to accepting the offer I knew I had to call Steve to give him the heads up. I explained to him that the money they offered would allow for a better stage design and an all around higher level of production. I also told him that the contract with Blackberry would mean using their products exclusively. He thanked me for calling him, praised the people at Blackberry and told me he would send me an iPhone to at least play with on the bus.

I accepted the offer with Blackberry, and in the months leading up to the July 29th release date, the iPhone became the most desired item on the planet. Everybody wanted one, and nobody had yet to see one in person. It was mythical. That day I was playing an ampitheatre in Indianapolis, and sometime in the afternoon the production office got a call over the radio that a sales associate from the local Apple Store was standing at the outermost gate of the venue with something addressed to me. A few minutes later someone knocked on my dressing room door and handed me an Apple Store bag. Inside was an iPhone, and taped to it was a card; it belonged to Steve Jobs, CEO, 1 Inifinite Loop, Cupertino, California. Handwritten on the backside of the card was one word: “Enjoy!”

(Jobs fence tribute pic via Buzzfeed)