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Fortune: Jobs hid cancer for nine months

post #1 of 94
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In a controversial piece published by Fortune, for which Steve Jobs declined to comment, the business publication claims the Apple co-founder masked his battle with cancer for a full nine months before informing shareholders and anyone outside his most intimate of inner circles.

For those nine months, said Peter Elkind, the magazine's editor, Apple's board of directors secretly agonized over the situation, as they struggled to balance their moral responsibilities to both the company's investors and their chief executive's appeal for privacy.

According to the report, the board would ultimately decide to say nothing after seeking advice on its obligations from two outside lawyers, who agreed the matter could remain secret.

Jobs, as he would later reveal in an email to employees on August 1, 2004, had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, or a malignant tumor within the pancreatic gland that often leads to a surefire death.

To his fortune, a biopsy in October of 2003 would reveal that he had a very rare form of pancreatic cancer called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, which represents about 1 percent of the total cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed each year.

"If the tumor were surgically removed, Jobs' prognosis would be promising," Elkind wrote. "The vast majority of those who underwent the operation survived at least ten years."

But to the dismay of the Board and those closest to him, Jobs is said to have considered never having the surgery at all. Not a proponent of modern day medicine, he reportedly decided "to employ alternative methods to treat his pancreatic cancer, hoping to avoid the operation through a special diet - a course of action that hasn't been disclosed until now."

Jobs speaks openly about his battle with cancer at Stanford University in 2005.

In the end, Jobs would ultimately have the surgery, on Saturday, July 31, 2004, at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, near his home. But for the preceding nine months, "nary a word got out" and "no one learned just how long" he'd been sick, added Elkind, who goes on to scrutinize nearly every aspect of the Silicon Valley icon -- and accuse him of putting investors at risk -- in the piece titled, "The trouble with Steve Jobs."
post #2 of 94
Jobs had every right to keep his health problem private for as long as he did. In fact, it was best for the stock holders in the end to not cause a panic and resulting stock collapse.
post #3 of 94
Since when do shareholders have a stake in someones private life???
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post #4 of 94
I just can't see Apple being Apple if anything happens to Jobs. He is the heart and soul of the company, not to mention the brains.
post #5 of 94
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Originally Posted by freethinker View Post

I just can't see Apple being Apple if anything happens to Jobs. He is the heart and soul of the company, not to mention the brains.

and the Ego
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post #6 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by guest View Post

Since when do shareholders have a stake in someones private life??

Normally, not, but this particular bit of private life happens to intersect with the operational interests of a whole corporation and their stock holders.

In this case, I can see it, because Jobs is quite key to Apple's direction. Given that the situation could mean an untimely death, I think it's a very valid question as to whether a successor can continue that.
post #7 of 94
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Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

In this case, I can see it, because Jobs is quite key to Apple's direction. Given that the situation could mean an untimely death, I think it's a valid question as to whether a successor can continue that.

The only successor I could see after Jobs is Al Gore.
post #8 of 94
Didn't the question of his successor come up during yesterdays share holders meeting?

I also think that Jobs is the brains and the balls that got Apple to where they are now but there must be someone there that Jobs has been grooming just in case... right?
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post #9 of 94
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Originally Posted by freethinker View Post

The only successor I could see after Jobs is Al Gore.

That would be craptastic.

There is only one good choice
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post #10 of 94
But to the dismay of the Board and those closest to him, Jobs is said to have considered never having the surgery at all. Not a proponent of modern day medicine, he reportedly decided "to employ alternative methods to treat his pancreatic cancer, hoping to avoid the operation through a special diet - a course of action that hasn't been disclosed until now."

In the end, Jobs would ultimately have the surgery, on Saturday, July 31, 2004, at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, near his home. But for the preceding nine months, "nary a word got out" and "no one learned just how long" he'd been sick, added Elkind, who goes on to scrutinize nearly every aspect of the Silicon Valley icon -- and accuse him of putting investors at risk -- in the piece titled, "The trouble with Steve Jobs."
[/QUOTE]

I find it appalling that the head of a company that depends totally on science and reason would even consider abandoning it for unproven (AKA "alternative") methods
post #11 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdcat View Post

But to the dismay of the Board and those closest to him, Jobs is said to have considered never having the surgery at all. Not a proponent of modern day medicine, he reportedly decided "to employ alternative methods to treat his pancreatic cancer, hoping to avoid the operation through a special diet - a course of action that hasn't been disclosed until now."

In the end, Jobs would ultimately have the surgery, on Saturday, July 31, 2004, at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, near his home. But for the preceding nine months, "nary a word got out" and "no one learned just how long" he'd been sick, added Elkind, who goes on to scrutinize nearly every aspect of the Silicon Valley icon -- and accuse him of putting investors at risk -- in the piece titled, "The trouble with Steve Jobs."

I find it appalling that the head of a company that depends totally on science and reason would even consider abandoning it for unproven (AKA "alternative") methods[/QUOTE]


No one would want toxic levels of poisons coursing through their bodies if there was an alternative that could help.
post #12 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

But to the dismay of the Board and those closest to him, Jobs is said to have considered never having the surgery at all. Not a proponent of modern day medicine, he reportedly decided "to employ alternative methods to treat his pancreatic cancer, hoping to avoid the operation through a special diet - a course of action that hasn't been disclosed until now."

In the end, Jobs would ultimately have the surgery

Thank god he came to his senses!

^^mdcat: beat me to the punch!
post #13 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by freethinker View Post

No one would want toxic levels of poisons coursing through their bodies if there was an alternative that could help.

But that's the point. The "alternatives" don't work. If you could adjust your diet and cure cancer, pharmaceuticals would study it, isolate the compounds that help, figure out the perfect dosage, put it in a pill, and make millions of dollars for "cure for cancer."

Note: there will never be a cure for cancer -- there will only be better treatments.
post #14 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denton View Post

But that's the point. The "alternatives" don't work. If you could adjust your diet and cure cancer, pharmaceuticals would study it, isolate the compounds that help, figure out the perfect dosage, put it in a pill, and make millions of dollars for "cure for cancer."

Note: there will never be a cure for cancer -- there will only be better treatments.

Having watched several family members go through "standard treatment" of cancer I would say that those methods don't work either all the time. What's funny is how many "alternative" ideas about health are finding there way into the pharmaceutical industry because they recognize that nature has many resources into treating major illnesses.

Also how do we know that the things Jobs did that where "alternative" is what helped him beat the cancer, since the survival rate is so low with the cancer he had. Why do we look at medicine as only "science" or "alternative", why can't we use both.
post #15 of 94
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Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

and the Ego

All of these things go hand in hand. Show me other CEOs as successful as Jobs at a company turnaround and I'll show you a very small group of people.

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post #16 of 94
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Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

That would be craptastic.

There is only one good choice

I disagree. Ive has none of the business experience and company-building experience Jobs has. He is first and foremost an designer. Those two functions have no comparison.

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post #17 of 94
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Originally Posted by Denton View Post

But that's the point. The "alternatives" don't work. If you could adjust your diet and cure cancer, pharmaceuticals would study it, isolate the compounds that help, figure out the perfect dosage, put it in a pill, and make millions of dollars for "cure for cancer."

Note: there will never be a cure for cancer -- there will only be better treatments.

I think Steve's cancer will eventually return. It usually does. Jobs is an irreplaceable visionary for Apple, even though there are plenty of bean-counters and pencil pushers ready and willing to take over the job. Apple still needs to be set on a firm course and be prepared for a Steve-less future.

Also, for comparison, look at the disaster that Microsoft has become since Gates stepped away from his duties. Ballmer is a moron and they have been stagnant for years. I'd expect a similar entropy to set in at Apple.

Without the vision and push from the top, rot sets in pretty quickly.

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post #18 of 94
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Originally Posted by jeff79m View Post

Also how do we know that the things Jobs did that where "alternative" is what helped him beat the cancer, since the survival rate is so low with the cancer he had. Why do we look at medicine as only "science" or "alternative", why can't we use both.

Why would anyone assume Steve has "beat" cancer? He didn't tell anyone when he had it, so why would he let you know if it returned?

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post #19 of 94
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Originally Posted by freethinker View Post

No one would want toxic levels of poisons coursing through their bodies if there was an alternative that could help.

Do the alternatives even come close, even when factoring that in?

The story doesn't mention chemo, is that a forgone assumption when considering surgery? I'm not up on that sort of thing.
post #20 of 94
Jesus leave the guy alone, having the trauma of cancer is one thing but dissecting every aspect of it is beyond the pale
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post #21 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denton View Post

Note: there will never be a cure for cancer -- there will only be better treatments.

I think that's the most sensible outlook You can reduce its onset by making sure the environment is clean, some diets are better than others, and you can treat it better, but as yet, I see nothing that suggests cancer can be 100% prevented in all types and cases.
post #22 of 94
Give me a break. Investors in Apple have absolutely NO SAY in what jobs does in his private life, even if that means making a questionable decision about his health. Yes, Jobs is key to the success of Apple at this point, but when I bought stock in Apple I didn't buy stock in Steve Job's personal affairs.
post #23 of 94
I'm a physician, and certainly am glad SJ had his surgery, which is likely to be curative (I'm not sure where the previous comment is coming from in asserting that this form of cancer almost always recurs). That said, it's his own business whether or not to undergo surgery. And let's put it in perspective: with an initial diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma (the one that is most commonly fatal in the end, although it is curable when caught early), it's not entirely unreasonable to consider other approaches simply because the standard curative therapy, a pancreaticoduodenostomy (Whipple procedure) often times is not feasible as the tumor has spread beyond the pancreas by the time of surgery.

When a Whipple procedure is feasible, then many patients can indeed be cured, although there is not insignificant morbidity associated with the operation. In many cases, surgeons may end up doing what we call a “peek and shriek,” in which the abdomen is opened, it becomes obvious that the tumor is not resectable (ie, the cancer is not curable with surgery), and the best option is to just close the patient and consider a clinical protocol that might or might not help prolong life somewhat.

In retrospect, it was critical that SJ had his operation, since there would have been no way for anyone to know that this was indeed resectable and curable without a Whipple procedure. The sad reality is that many patients with panceatic cancer in general have few options for beneficial treatment, so while my physician side is skeptical, my nonphysician side can certainly understand where Jobs was coming from by initialy declining surgery. Also, please realize that no one can or should judge someone until that person has been in the same shoes. No one on this forum, myself included, has had pancreatic cancer, and so cannot judge the actions of others like Steve Jobs in this regard.
post #24 of 94
Epidemiology for the interested.

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/art...?artid=2077912

Don't have time to look closely, but the median survival for a localized tumor of this type (which I'm assuming is the category Jobs fell under) is 10 years.

It's been 4 years since his surgery, and if you've made it 4 years, I'm sure the median survival is > 10.
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post #25 of 94
Since when is Steve Jobs' medical condition anyone else's business but his? Sure, investors would have been skittish... (they always are at the drop of a hat) but, Steve is entitled to privacy.
post #26 of 94
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Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Ive has none of the business experience and company-building experience Jobs has.

And Al Gore does? -

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post #27 of 94
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Originally Posted by guest View Post

Since when do shareholders have a stake in someones private life???

They don't but they'd panic and the share/stock price would go down.
post #28 of 94
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Originally Posted by jeff79m View Post

Why do we look at medicine as only "science" or "alternative", why can't we use both.

Excellent point. I too have seen several family member go through the hell-on-earth that is our current "scientific" treatment for cancer. Modern medicine considers a lot of homeopathic regimens to be barbaric - but the same could be said of bombarding the body with slightly less-than-lethal amounts of radiation.

Doctors used to prescribe blood-letting as a treatment for certain illnesses which often led people's deaths.. so no popular treatment is infallible.

As for Job's health problems... I agree that they aren't anyone else's business. No one can make those kinds of choices for anyone else... If Steve had died from using a diet only regimen... would the shareholders sue his family?
post #29 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtoub View Post

I'm a physician, and certainly am glad SJ had his surgery, which is likely to be curative (I'm not sure where the previous comment is coming from in asserting that this form of cancer almost always recurs). That said, it's his own business whether or not to undergo surgery. And let's put it in perspective: with an initial diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma (the one that is most commonly fatal in the end, although it is curable when caught early), it's not entirely unreasonable to consider other approaches simply because the standard curative therapy, a pancreaticoduodenostomy (Whipple procedure) often times is not feasible as the tumor has spread beyond the pancreas by the time of surgery.

When a Whipple procedure is feasible, then many patients can indeed be cured, although there is not insignificant morbidity associated with the operation. In many cases, surgeons may end up doing what we call a peek and shriek, in which the abdomen is opened, it becomes obvious that the tumor is not resectable (ie, the cancer is not curable with surgery), and the best option is to just close the patient and consider a clinical protocol that might or might not help prolong life somewhat.

In retrospect, it was critical that SJ had his operation, since there would have been no way for anyone to know that this was indeed resectable and curable without a Whipple procedure. The sad reality is that many patients with panceatic cancer in general have few options for beneficial treatment, so while my physician side is skeptical, my nonphysician side can certainly understand where Jobs was coming from by initialy declining surgery. Also, please realize that no one can or should judge someone until that person has been in the same shoes. No one on this forum, myself included, has had pancreatic cancer, and so cannot judge the actions of others like Steve Jobs in this regard.

Excellent information. Thanks.

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post #30 of 94
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Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

And Al Gore does? -

Fer Chrissakes, I'm not the one who suggested Al Gore.

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post #31 of 94
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Originally Posted by stevepeck View Post

Come on Guys don't think he's a God just because he owns Apple.
He's a Crook just as Bill Gates, there both ripping the world off.
Anyone who makes massive profits like them two don't deserve any praise.
Apple is good but its never ever gonna catch up with Microsoft and if it was Bill Gates who had Cancer you wouldn't give a shit.

Who peed in your Cheerios?

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post #32 of 94
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Originally Posted by freethinker View Post

The only successor I could see after Jobs is Al Gore.

HAHA
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Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

That would be craptastic.

There is only one good choice

I think Ive is best where he is. I think Cook may be the next dog.
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post #33 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtoub View Post

I'm a physician, and certainly am glad SJ had his surgery, which is likely to be curative (I'm not sure where the previous comment is coming from in asserting that this form of cancer almost always recurs). That said, it's his own business whether or not to undergo surgery. And let's put it in perspective: with an initial diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma (the one that is most commonly fatal in the end, although it is curable when caught early), it's not entirely unreasonable to consider other approaches simply because the standard curative therapy, a pancreaticoduodenostomy (Whipple procedure) often times is not feasible as the tumor has spread beyond the pancreas by the time of surgery.

The biopsy revealed Jobs did not have the common form of pancreatic cancer. As Jobs himself informed the public and as reported in the article, he had a relatively rare pancreatic islet cell carcinoma, that is typically curable through surgical resection. However, Jobs did not necessarily undergo a Whipple. The reporter provides no source or expert opinion for this claim and appears to have only one unconfirmed, anonymous source for the matter of Jobs hiding the diagnosis for 9 months.
post #34 of 94
It just dawned on me the other day that nothing has really changed since I first started using a Mac.

It's still a W.I.M.P. environment, and I still have to wade through nested folders that are presented in exactly the same way as they were in System 7. Okay there is a lot more eye-candy, the icons now bounce and there's now a neat little sidebar running down the side of the Finder window, but in the years that have passed since System 7 there haven't been any fundamental breakthroughs no paradigm shifts.

I don't believe that the future of computing lies with Apple. Yes they are the best of a bad bunch, and yes SJ has had an incredible impact on the industry whilst it was his turn to run with the baton. But it's almost time for him to hand on the baton, and I suspect that it'll be a company like Perceptive Pixel that picks it up... if Apple go round the track for another lap we'll only end up with another generation of machines that do exactly what the previous generation of machines did.
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post #35 of 94
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Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think Cook may be the next dog.

Almost certainly.
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post #36 of 94
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Originally Posted by Messiah View Post

It just dawned on me the other day that nothing has really changed since I first started using a Mac.

It's still a W.I.M.P. environment, and I still have to wade through nested folders that are presented in exactly the same way as they were in System 7 ... there haven't been any fundamental breakthroughs no paradigm shifts..

You certainly can if you want, but Spotlighta find-as-you-type, dynamic indexallwos you to locate items easily. Perhaps what hasn't changed is the way you use a computer.
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post #37 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

The biopsy revealed Jobs did not have the common form of pancreatic cancer. As Jobs himself informed the public and as reported in the article, he had a relatively rare pancreatic islet cell carcinoma, that is typically curable through surgical resection. However, Jobs did not necessarily undergo a Whipple. The reporter provides no source or expert opinion for this claim and appears to have only one unconfirmed, anonymous source for the matter of Jobs hiding the diagnosis for 9 months.

1.) dtoub realizes that and did not claim otherwise

2.) I read the article, and it sounded like the author had multiple sources. I don't doubt it's credibility.
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post #38 of 94
I work in cancer research and this kind of cancer is really a nasty and aggressive one. Sad thing to hear... Wish all the best to Steve and Apple.
post #39 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by freethinker View Post

I find it appalling that the head of a company that depends totally on science and reason would even consider abandoning it for unproven (AKA "alternative") methods


No one would want toxic levels of poisons coursing through their bodies if there was an alternative that could help.[/QUOTE]

If there a better method don't you think the doctors would have recommended it? Quacks have often derided cancer treatment options such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation as "poison, cut, and burn" while offering only magical thinking in return.

Would you try to solve a computer problem by placing your computer facing a certain direction or moving your furniture around (absent electromagnetic interference problems)?
post #40 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah View Post

I suspect that it'll be a company like Perceptive Pixel that picks it up... if Apple go round the track for another lap we'll only end up with another generation of machines that do exactly what the previous generation of machines did.

Maybe not Perceptive Pixel... using a fully multi-touch computer is a huge energy waster. With a keyboard and mouse your movement is minimal and largely efficient. Spend 30 minutes using one of Jeff Han's computer interfaces and you'll need a gallon of Gatorade.

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