Isaacson revealed this in an interview to promote his biography, entitled Steve Jobs. The interview will be broadcast on Sunday in America.
Jobs eventually had the surgery after months of seemingly ignoring his condition, but played down just how ill he was. He was reportedly receiving treatment in secret while telling everyone he was cured.
Also revealed in the interview is that Jobs actually met his biological father before he knew who he was. Jobs also claimed the chances of there being a God were 50-50, how he saw Apple staff turn into 'bizarro people' as soon as they became rich, and how he vowed never to let his wealth change him.
Isaacson's biography will be published on Monday.