7 Things to Know About Sen. John McCain’s Brain Cancer

7 Things to Know About Sen. John McCain’s Brain Cancer

The cancer has been removed and Sen. McCain is said to be alert and recovering as he awaits further treatment, in Arizona.

No matter what your political tendencies, hearing that someone has brain cancer is distressing.

Doctors treating Senator John McCain, who represents Arizona and was the Republican nominee in the 2008 presidential election, announced on July 19th, 2017 that the 80-year old politician has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Here are 7 things to know about the disease and Senator McCain.

1) It’s Called Primary Glioblastoma

The type of cancer involved in this case is called primary glioblastoma. Kind of a tongue twister. It’s described by the experts as being a particularly aggressive tumor that grows in the brain stem and the spinal cord of those who develop it.

2) It Was Discovered During a Routine Examination

Sen. John McCain has brain cancer.

Sen. McCain confided in doctors at a routine check up that he’d been suffering from some fatigue of late, and moments when he didn’t feel completely 100%, as well as some occurrences of seeing double. McCain said he’d chalked it up to a busy schedule and a lot of travel. Nonetheless, doctors went ahead and performed a CT scan and an MRI, and discovered the problem.

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3) The Clot Was Over the Left Eye

The blood clot that gave away the presence of cancer in McCain was located close to his left temple, near the location of his invasive skin cancer, treated in 2000.

4) It’s Been Completely Removed, for the Time Being

Reports indicate that the average survival time for patients with malignant glioblastoma is around 14 months, if treated. There are always exceptions though, and as CNN reported, a study done in 2009 showed that 10% of those diagnosed with this form of cancer live up to 5 more years, or longer.

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The reason that the tumors are so cancerous is because the cells involved reproduce at such a rapid rate. They’re also supported by a large network of blood vessels that carry blood around the body.

5) It’s the Same Tumor that Ted Kennedy Had

Sen. John McCain has brain cancer.

Cancer doesn’t take sides. The cancer that has been discovered and removed from McCain is that same type that Democratic senator Ted Kennedy died of in August of 2009 at age 77. Kennedy passed away 15 months after his diagnosis.

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6) It’s Hard to Say How It’s Affecting Him

Some say McCain remains sharp and impressively unaffected by his tumor but others say he isn’t. As NBCnews.com reported: “It’s possible the brain tumor was linked to McCain’s uncharacteristically incoherent line of questioning during congressional testimony last month by former FBI Director James Comey.”

7) McCain is Currently Recovering at Home

McCain underwent surgery to remove the cancerous blood clot last Friday at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix.

He is currently awaiting treatment in the form of either or both chemotherapy and radiation. The tumor has been completely removed and he is said to be recovering at his home in Arizona, with family.

Photo credit: Eraxion/Bigstock; Uwphotographer/Bigstock; Eraxion/Bigstock


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