Jobs refused early cancer surgery: Biographer

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs refused early surgery for the pancreatic cancer that eventually took his life, choosing instead to undergo alternative treatments, according to his biographer.

Walter Isaacson, in an interview with the CBS show "60 Minutes," excerpts of which were released on Thursday, said Jobs, who died on October 5 at the age of 56, told him he eventually regretted the decision to put off the operation.

Isaacson, whose book, "Steve Jobs," goes on sale on Monday, also said Jobs played down the seriousness of his condition and was receiving cancer treatments in secret while telling people he had been cured.

Isaacson said doctors told Jobs that the disease was "one of these very slow-growing five percent of pancreatic cancers that can actually be cured."

"But Steve Jobs doesn't get operated on right away," he said. "He tries to treat it with diet. He goes to spiritualists. He goes through various ways of doing it macrobiotically and he doesn't get an operation.

"Soon everybody is telling him, 'Quit trying to treat it with all these roots and vegetables and things, just get operated on,'" Isaacson said. "But he does it nine months later.

"One assumes it's too late because by the time they operate on him they notice it has spread to the tissues around the pancreas," he said.

Asked why Jobs initially turned down an operation, Isaacson said: "I've asked him that and he said, 'I didn't want my body to be opened. I didn't want to be violated in that way.'"

"He was regretful about it," Isaacson said. "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."

"He wanted to talk about it, how he regretted it," he said. "I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner."

Jobs underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2004 and received a liver transplant in 2009.

The 60 Minutes interview with Isaacson, who conducted more than 40 interviews with Jobs, the technology visionary behind the Macintosh computer, the iPod, the iPhone and iPad, is to air on Sunday.

Isaacson's 656-page book is being published by Simon & Schuster.

Isaacson, chief executive of the Aspen Institute think-tank, has also penned biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Henry Kissinger.

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