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Did Steve Jobs Doom Himself with Alternative Medicine?

The official word from Apple was that company co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. However, one cancer expert believes that Jobs' death was preventable.

Dr. Ramzi Amri, of Harvard Medical School, believes that Jobs, who had a mild form of cancer which is not usually fatal, may have ushered along his own death by delaying conventional treatment in favor of alternative medicine.

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

Dr. Amri said neuroendocrine tumors are so "mild" that "in my series of patients, for many subtypes, the survival rate was as high as 100% over a decade."

In Jobs's case, surgical removal may have saved him if performed early enough, writes Dr. Amri: "In many cases, a simple enucleation (just cutting out the tumor with a safe margin around it) is enough and leaves no residual side-effects."

Noting that the cancer also spread to all the major parts of Jobs' liver, Dr. Amri says: "The only reason he'd have a transplant would be that the tumor invaded all major parts of the liver, which takes a considerable amount of time."

Dr. Amri said the Whipple procedure and liver transplant were clear signs the cancer was out of control and should have been stopped earlier.

"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."

When contacted by, Dr. Amri expressed his "profoundest respect" for Jobs and said that "I do not pretend to know anything about the case on a personal level and I never participated in the care of Mr. Jobs. I base all my cancer figures on my own research or sources from biomedical research known to me... I have done 1.5 years of research on the type of tumor that affected Steve Jobs and have some strong opinions on his case."

According to a 2008 Fortune article, Jobs pursued "alternative methods to treat his pancreatic cancer, hoping to avoid (an) operation through a special diet" for nine months. 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.

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