Sen. McCain Diagnosed With Aggressive Form of Brain Cancer

By Susan Jones | July 20, 2017 | 5:05am EDT
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) chides the Senate on its obstructionism and failure to accomplish anything on July 12, two days before doctors removed a blood clot from his brain. "I'm not proud to go back to Arizona and talk about that record of non-accomplishment," he said. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

( – Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

In a statement released by the Mayo Clinic at the request of McCain, doctors said they found a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma when they removed a blood clot from above his left eye last Friday.

“The Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation,” the statement said.

The office of Senator John McCain also released a statement:

Senator McCain appreciates the outpouring of support he has received over the last few days. He is in good spirits as he continues to recover at home with his family in Arizona. He is grateful to the doctors and staff at Mayo Clinic for their outstanding care, and is confident that any future treatment will be effective. Further consultations with Senator McCain's Mayo Clinic care team will indicate when he will return to the United States Senate.

According to the American Brain Tumor Association, glioblastomas are tumors that arise from astrocytes—the star-shaped cells that make up the “glue-like” or supportive tissue of the brain. The association says such tumors are usually highly malignant because the cells reproduce quickly, nourished by a large network of blood vessels.

Glioblastomas increase in frequency with age – McCain is 80 – and they affect more men than women.

The tumors can be difficult to treat because they contain different types of cells that respond differently, or not at all, to therapy.

The brain tumor association says for adults with glioblastoma who are treated with concurrent chemotherapy and radiation therapy, median survival is about 14.6 months and two-year survival is 30 percent. However, a 2009 study reported that almost 10 percent of patients with glioblastoma may live five years or longer.

Prayers and support for Sen. McCain, a former prisoner of war, are coming from all quarters.

McCain's best friend in the Senate, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, told reporters he spoke to McCain on Wednesday, and McCain told him, "I've been through worse." Then McCain wanted to talk about health care and the defense budget, Graham said.

"So, pray," Graham said. "God knows how this ends, not me. But I do know this. This disease has never had a more worthy opponent."

President Trump, who has a frosty relationship with McCain, said in a statement that McCain "has always been a fighter," and he sent "thoughts and prayers" to the senator and his family.

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