Fortune: Jobs hid cancer for nine months

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 94
    ronnronn Posts: 413member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 94
    guestguest Posts: 112member
    Since when do shareholders have a stake in someones private life???
  • Reply 3 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.
  • Reply 4 of 94
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,075member
    Quote:
    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
  • Reply 5 of 94
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 94
    Quote:
    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.
  • Reply 7 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?
  • Reply 8 of 94
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,075member
    Quote:
    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
  • Reply 9 of 94
    mdcatmdcat Posts: 79member
    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
  • Reply 10 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.
  • Reply 11 of 94
    dentondenton Posts: 725member
    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!
  • Reply 12 of 94
    dentondenton Posts: 725member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 94
    jeff79mjeff79m Posts: 37member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 94
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 94
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 94
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    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.



    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.
  • Reply 17 of 94
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:
    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?
  • Reply 18 of 94
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    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.



    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.
  • Reply 19 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
  • Reply 20 of 94
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    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.
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