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6 Things to Know About John McCain's Brain Cancer Diagnosis

Image: 6 Things to Know About John McCain's Brain Cancer Diagnosis

Sen. John McCain at a January hearing. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

By    |   Friday, 21 Jul 2017 05:23 AM

John McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma this week after he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from above his eye at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix. Laboratory results from that surgery confirmed the presence of the brain cancer.

The 80-year-old U.S. senator from Arizona and Vietnam War hero was the Republican nominee for president in 2008 and has served in Congress for more than 30 years.

Here are six things to know about his diagnosis.

1. Glioblastoma is an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord and which forms from cells called astrocytes that support nerve cells, according to the Mayo Clinic. The cancer often happens in older adults but could happen at any age and is considered difficult to treat.

2. Symptoms of glioblastoma include headache, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. The American Brain Tumor Association reported that glioblastoma can grow quickly, which can cause increased pressure in the brain. Depending on the location in the brain, other symptoms can include weakness on one side of the body, memory and/or speech difficulties, and visual changes. McCain reportedly had good balance and was not suffering headaches or seizures at the time of the diagnosis.

3. Treatment for glioblastoma includes brain surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy, said the Mayo Clinic. Because glioblastoma can grow into the normal brain tissue, the cancer cannot be treated by surgery alone.

4. McCain’s cancer history includes regular screening for cancer by his physicians since he was diagnosed with melanoma in 2000, said CNN. He had three other malignant melanomas removed in 1993, 2000 and 2002.

5. Prevalence of glioblastoma is 14.9 percent of all primary brain tumors, and 55.4 percent of all gliomas, a broad term which includes all tumors arising from the gluey or supportive tissue of the brain, noted the American Brain Tumor Association. Glioblastoma has the highest number of cases of all malignant tumors, with an estimated 12,390 new cases predicted in 2017.

6. Others who died of glioblastoma include Sen. Edward Kennedy in 2009 and Beau Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph Biden in 2015, according to The Washington Post. Kennedy made his diagnosis public in May 2008 after suffering a seizure and died at 77, noted the Post. Biden, the former Delaware attorney general, was diagnosed in 2013 and had surgery, radiation and chemotherapy before dying at 46.

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John McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma this week after he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from above his eye at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix. Laboratory results from that surgery confirmed the presence of the brain cancer. Here are six things to know about his diagnosis.
6 things, about, john mccain, brain cancer, diagnosis
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2017-23-21
Friday, 21 Jul 2017 05:23 AM
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