John McCain Just Announced That He Has Brain Cancer

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has brain cancer, the Mayo Clinic revealed today.  The U.S. Senate’s most famous “maverick” has survived another tough battle after successful  surgery to remove a brain tumor, but will still require extensive care that may bring down the curtain on his political career.

Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) has been diagnosed with brain cancer, according to an announcement by the Mayo Clinic, where doctors removed a blood clot from his left eye and the tumor last Friday during an operation that lasted almost four hours. 

The doctors revealed that the 80-year-old six term Senator had a brain tumor, known as glioblastoma, that is associated with the blood clot. It is considered a very aggressive and dangerous kind of tumor that forms in the tissue of the brain and spinal cord.

It is the same kind of tumor that the late Senator Ted Kennedy had. Kennedy died in 2009. 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, spoke to McCain’s doctors, who said McCain showed no evidence of neurological problems after the operation. He was sharp and able to answer questions, and even cracked jokes, and was released on Saturday. He is recovering at his Arizona home. 

The Senator is recovering “amazingly well,” his office said in a statement.

McCain and his family are now considering his treatment options, which include radiation and chemotherapy.

His problems were diagnosed last week when he came in for a routine medical exam. He told his doctor he felt foggy and not as sharp as usual. He also said he was having double vision.

That led to a CT scan and then eventually the operation.

Gupta explained that survival for malignant glioblastoma is around 14 months with treatment, which will begin when his incision heals in three or four weeks. A 2009 study reported about 10 percent of patients live five years or longer, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. 

This is the latest challenge in a life that has been full of tests that might have taken down a man without McCain’s strength, character and will to live.

He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and then served in the Navy during the Vietnam War,  following a tradition set by his father and grandfather, who were both four-star admirals.

In October 1967, on a bombing mission, his plane was shot down over Hanoi and he was a prisoner of war until 1973. He was tortured but refused an early release if he would confess to war crimes, which he refused to do.

After McCain left the Navy in 1981, he moved to Arizona and went into politics. He was elected to the House of Representatives as a Republican in 1982 and then to the Senate in 1986. He has won re-election five times.

Among his signature legislative achievements is the McCain-Feingold Act, passed in 2002, which was a landmark in campaign finance reform.

In the 1990s, he returned to Vietnam and helped the U.S. re-establish diplomatic relations with its former enemy.

McCain ran for president in 2000 but lost in the primary to George W. Bush. He won the nomination in 2008 but lost the election to President Barack Obama.

He has had many other achievements in politics and has a strong record boosting veterans issues in the Senate.

While he is a Republican, and often disagreed with President Obama on foreign policy, McCain was known for his independence, and at times his willingness to work with Democrats and independents to do what was best for America. 

McCain has often disagreed with President Trump, but for the most part has remained a loyal Republican. As recently as last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used McCain’s absence as an excuse to delay a vote on TrumpCare, which later floundered because other Republicans oppose it.

If this is the end of McCain’s political career, it will be a signifcant loss. Although he is a Republican, he has always been known for his fairness, honesty and willingness to work for what is best for America.

There is a real shortage of people like McCain in politics these days, especially among Republicans.

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Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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August 23, 2017