Thursday, July 20, 2017

Senator McCain diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer

One of the big stories yesterday was that Senator John McCain diagnosed with aggressive, deadly brain cancer. Dylan Smith at the Tucson Sentinel reports.

U.S. Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, following surgery to remove what testing showed was a glioblastoma tumor last Friday.

That form of cancer is the most aggressive type that begins in the brain, with early symptoms that may include personality changes, headaches, and symptoms similar to those of a stroke.

The 80-year-old Republican senator from Arizona had a two-inch blood clot removed from his brain above his left eye last week. Surgeons at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix performed the operation, which required a craniotomy near his eyebrow.

Pathology “revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot,” his doctors said in a statement released by his office Wednesday evening.

Scans since the operation showed the “tissue of concern was completely resected,” they said.

McCain 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 from his office said.

Even the best outcome with this type of cancer is not good.

Glioblastomas generally recur, despite surgery and cancer treatments, and most patients live 12–15 months after diagnosis. Less than 3–5 percent live longer than five years, with those patients who are not treated dying within three months.

It is unseemly to speculate about the political implications of the Senator’s prognosis, but you better believe that others are doing it in silence or behind behind closed doors. Here is one likely outcome of the Senator’s condition that will resonate in the Senate.

The seriousness of the disease puts in doubt McCain’s return to the U.S. Senate any time soon.

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