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Steve Jobs’s cancer and science-based medicine

Interesting discussion from David Gorski (which I found via this link from Joseph Delaney).

I don’t have anything really to add to this discussion except to note the value of this sort of anecdote in a statistics discussion. It’s only n=1 and adds almost nothing to the literature on the effectiveness of various treatments, but a story like this can help focus one’s thoughts on the decision problems.


  1. John says:

    It is an interesting read. I had never heard of Mercola . He’s like a real-life Dr. Nick Riviera.

  2. K? O'Rourke says:

    Reminds me of advice passed on by a chief of medicine from a teaching hospital.

    A group of his senior clinical epidemiologist colleagues, one whom had an encounter with a life threatening illness, had discussed
    this amongst themselves for a while and decided the best course was to find a clinician you trusted and ask them to tell you what
    to do. Don’t try to review the evidence on your own or discuss that with them just make sure they spend some of their time in research (and if I recall not too much time to distract them from being a good clinician – as they will be treating you.)

    Yup, all based on authority, not very scientific – but we do know are brains act very strangely when faced with possible death and or severe pain.

    Of course, the better advice is just not to sick!

  3. DK says:

    I have very little interest in Jobs or Apple but if the guy really refused surgery for an early stage insulinoma then all is very clear: he committed suicide out of stupidity of some sort. In his case the “some sort” appears to be new age beliefs.

    Surgery almost certainly would have cured him.