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Steve Jobs Apple 60 Minutes

Tragedy of Jobs: A smart man did 'such a stupid thing'


By Noel Young, Correspondent

October 21, 2011 | 2 min read

On the American current affairs show "60 Minutes" this Sunday, Steve Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson tells why the Apple chief refused what could have been life-saving surgery on his pancreatic cancer.

The author says Jobs told him he put off the operation because 'I didn't want my body to be opened . . . I didn't want to be violated in that way,'" .He later regretted his decision to try alternative therapies, said Isaacson. " I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner."

Jobs waited nine months, while his wife and others urged him to get the surgery done, before finally having the operation. When interviewer Steve Kroft asked, "How could such a smart man do such a stupid thing?" , Isaacson replied, "I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something, if you don't want something to exist, you can have magical thinking ... we talked about this a lot." Isaacson's long-awaited book "Steve Jobs" is out next week.

Jobs finally had the surgery and told his employees about it, but played down the seriousness of his condition. Isaacson says he was receiving cancer treatments in secret even though he was telling everyone he was cured.

Writing in Newsweek earlier, science editor Sharon Begley quoted cancer specialists who said Jobs might have had a good chance of living much longer than he did had he taken a more aggressive course upon learning about his illness.

Cancer surgeon Dr. Kim Joseph told the San Jose Mercury News that it was not uncommon for a newly-diagnosed cancer patient to want to try alternative cures before proceeding with more proven and often drastic ones, such as surgery or radiation .

"You'd expect the CEO of Apple to be more informed," said Dr. Kim. "Someone with a scientific mind like he had would be expected to be driven by evidence. And the evidence is clear with this type of cancer that surgery would improve his survival chances."

"There's a chance,'' said Dr. Kim, "that Steve Jobs would still be alive today if he had had surgery right away."

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