I'm kind of surprised that this has not been brought up yet, but for myself, it was one of the first questions I asked to myself when I heard of Steve Jobs' death. Given the nature of his health problems with his pancreatic cancer and then his liver transplant I wonder if his dietary lifestyle contributed to his early death.
I had a relative who developed dementia and Alzheimer's at a very early age, he was a very active and extreme vegan. His doctor told him--believe it or not--that he wasn't eating enough fat, but as far as I know he continued to eat this way and his wife continued to prepare vegan food for him in his last days. He was in his mid-60's when he passed.
I don't think you need tons of animal products to live a long and healthy life, but I certainly do think if you are a vegan or vegetarian that, liver, eggs, and dairy are invaluable for sustaining health.
Comment: I think it's unfortunate the Jobs' passed. However, this is something important to discuss, maybe it's too close to home, I'm not sure. People tend to have some pretty hard and fast opinions when we aren't discussing particular examples and citing studies of groups of "nameless" people. But when we bring in a real world example all of the sudden those opinions fall to the wayside and we no longer know anything anymore?
First of all I don't think any of us can actually answer the title question with any confidence at all.
Second, I know I will get downvoted for saying this because a lot of people in the paleo community seem to be severely against almost ANY mainstream medicine, but I feel that Steve Jobs' death may have had more to do with him delaying conventional treatment for many months than it had to do with his diet.
You know, cancer kills all the time. It killed before we had the ability to detect it or know what had killed someone, and it kills now that we have knowledge to find it and try and get rid of it and then speculate about how if only someone had eaten this or not eaten that, they might have survived. It kills despite whatever crackpot theory you want to believe about how fasting or meditating or praying or avoiding animal protein or eating nothing but animal protein will cure your cancer. That's the bottom line. It's tragic and terrible, but it's unavoidable. I know we'd all like to think that eating the perfect diet or whatever will prevent cancer (or any other disease) ever developing, or cure them once they've developed, and that cancer is solely a disease of civilization, but that's not how it works. The potential for the development of cancer is something that goes along with being a multi-cellular organism. We can't escape that.
In order to try and stem the downvotes- please don't get me wrong here, I am well aware of how much environmental factors contribute to cancer, especially certain types like mesothelioma where it's more or less ALL environment. But if you think you think environment is the ONLY contributing factor, in any and all types of cancer, you are wrong. I really really really (really!) wish that wasn't true. But- many of us will eat carefully, exercise properly, minimize stress, but still die of cancer. And some of us will smoke, spend hours in the sun each day, eat poorly, drink too much, and live stressful lives, only to doge to cancer bullet and die peacefully in our nineties of something else after a life of good health just like the rest of our relatives. We have less control than we think.
I don't know if I believe this, but it has been floating around:
During a routine abdominal scan, doctors had discovered a tumor growing in his pancreas. While a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is often tantamount to a swiftly executed death sentence, a biopsy revealed that Jobs had a rare - and treatable - form of the disease. If the tumor were surgically removed, Jobs' prognosis would be promising: The vast majority of those who underwent the operation survived at least ten years.
Yet to the horror of the tiny circle of intimates in whom he'd confided, Jobs was considering not having the surgery at all. A Buddhist and vegetarian, the Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) CEO was skeptical of mainstream medicine. Jobs decided to employ alternative methods to treat his pancreatic cancer, hoping to avoid the operation through a special diet - a course of action that hasn't been disclosed until now.
After he tried that, he did use all the best of conventional medicine though, but time is of the essence in these situations.
I would be more likely to blame the fact he was a workoholic and probably worked all night in front of a glowing rectangle. Night shift work is considered a carcinogen by the WHO and a lot of programmers end up doing the equivalent.
An aside-I love my Macbook, but I do resent that every night I have to cover up the multiple little glowing lights, especially the "breathing" sleep one, in order to sleep in a dark room.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, one of the fastest and most lethal varieties of cancer in 2004. Only 6% of people make it to five years after being diagnosed.
Seven years with pancreatic cancer is pretty damn good so perhaps the question should be "Since Steve Jobs survived pancreatic cancer so long, should we all ditch paleo and go to a vegan diet?" Yes, he had a less aggressive type of pancreatic cancer, but still, he didn't win the battle but he did beat the odds.
I have no idea how you intend to answer this question, despite understanding your reasons for asking it. At best, this thread would become a compliation of all the evidence for and against vegetarianism in the fight against cancer. Anything else is just speculation.
I'd be disheartened to see any of us, however emotionally appealing, link Steve Job's death (or any other public figure) to vegetarianism/veganism. It is the ultimate in n=1 'sin'. I tend to think even asking the question is promoting the fallacy, although again I understand your line of thinking.
In his newly released biography it states that Steve Jobs suffered from severe eating disorders since he was a teenager. We know the following:
How much did his high sugar, high fruit diet contribute to his pancreatic cancer? How much did his post-diagnosis diet of fruit juices exacerbate his problems?
I have lost multiple loved ones to cancer and it is a topic near to my heart. To your question it could have played a role. However it will be hard to tell if it actually did.
For my grandfather. Smoking every day could have caused his lung cancer at age 86. I encourage folks not to smoke.
My Aunt survived breast cancer for 13 years and then a Dr failed to catch a positive result and it went untreated for over a year.
I truly would like to contribute to cancer research in my life time.
I believe that you can reduce your risk of cancer and increase your chances of surviving (some types of) cancer. Pancreatic cancer to my knowledge is not curable and Steve fought it for many years likely beating the odds...
I think that avoiding soy, vegetable oils and sugar reduce your chances of getting cancer and increase your chances of surviving. Steve could have been doing all of these things.
I amuse myself once in a while by reading some of the postings on the infamous 30BAD site, and there was one about how if Steve Jobs had stayed a raw vegan, he would never have developed cancer in the first place and that LFRV cures cancer. The amount of misinformation (should have done a water fast...chemotherapy is what kills most cancer victims...) being passed around boggles the mind.
I have been a Mac person since the Mac Classic. Steve's passing made me very sad.
He was also a fruitarian for some years in the 70s from what I understand. Then he was a vegan for many years. So, I do think his cancer was probably related to his diet, but I would have said the same thing if he was just eating SAD because I think that most cancers are related to diet & lifestyle.
I think the best way to reduce the risk of cancer is to eat according to a faithful evolution paradigm. The perfect health diet (minus some of the supplements) is pretty close in my opinion.
There are too many factors in play here so my opinion would be that we should abandon the attempts to somehow link Steve Jobs and nutrition.
I would say that Steve Jobs was an extreme outlier from many points of view. The statistical analysis, as I understand, tends to exclude such data points.
Thank you Steve, and Rest In Peace.
It seems strange to implicate vegetarianism in his death, given that the available scientific and epidemiological evidence indicates that following a vegetarian diet does not put ones health at risk. As Key, Appleby, and Rose (2006) state, “Overall, the data suggest that the health of Western vegetarians is good and similar to that of comparable non-vegetarians”. Many studies in fact provide evidence that vegetarianism is associated with increased longevity, lower risk of certain cancers and lower risk of heart disease. Obviously it is difficult to isolate precisely what it is about vegetarians that gives rise to these benefits, as vegetarians tend to be more health conscious, more intelligent and educated, more affluent, and so on. The important point is that the adoption of a vegetarian diet is not associated with negative health consequences. If a vegetarian diet somehow made cancer much more likely, epidemiological studies would surely detect this.