Respectful Insolence on Steve Jobs And Alt Med

Steve Jobs, neuroendocrine tumors, and alternative medicine. Orac, a clinical oncologist posts his views regarding claims that Steve Jobs shortened his life by initially delaying cancer treatment for nine months in order to pursue an alternative diet-based approach:

Jobs was unfortunate in that he appears to have had an unusually aggressive form of the disease that probably would have killed him no matter what. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t take into account his delay in treatment and wonder if it contributed to his ultimate demise. It very well might have, the key word being “might.” We don’t know that it did, which is one reason why we have to be very, very careful not to overstate the case and attribute his death as being definitely due to the delay in therapy due to his wanting to “go alternative.” It’s also important to remember that, as much of a brilliant visionary Jobs was, even brilliant visionaries can make bad decisions when it comes to health.

Essentially, using alt med most likely didn’t help, but it’s a leap to speculate on any long-term impact on his cancer (apparently he eventually used all of the aggressive therapies that a billionaire can buy). I  highly recommend reading the entire thing (again, link) – he reviews some of the views that have been published about contributing factors (particularly from the skeptical-camp) and gives a good summation of the historical background that I personally wasn’t aware of before.

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About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.


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