Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was recently diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer called glioblastoma. This type of cancer is particularly challenging to treat due to its structure, location, and connection to blood vessels in the brain. The illness claims thousands of lives per year, with the majority of patients experiencing short survival time following diagnosis. Senator McCain will reportedly soon begin treatment to battle glioblastoma.
According to Liberty Nation’s Tim Donner, Senator McCain is one of the longest serving members of the current Senate after having endured five years of captivity and torture as a U.S. Navy pilot during the Vietnam War. At the request of Senator McCain last Wednesday, the Mayo Clinic announced the senator’s diagnosis with glioblastoma. The tumor was found following his July 14th surgery to remove a blood clot from above his left eye. According to the National Cancer Institute, glioblastoma is the most common form of malignant brain tumor, claiming an estimated 12,390 lives per year with the majority of patients succumbing to the disease within one to two years. The Mayo Clinic reports that Senator McCain is recovering from the blood clot surgery “amazingly well” and that the senator and his doctors are currently reviewing treatment options for his cancer, which will expectantly include radiation and chemotherapy.
Due to Senator McCain’s old age, surgery to remove the tumor will be likely avoided but may be utilized only as a last resort. Glioblastomas are highly invasive and dangerous to remove through surgery due to their finger-like tentacle structure seeping into the brain’s tissue, as noted by the American Brain Tumor Association. The association explains that glioblastomas form from mutated astrocytes, a type of glial cell. Glial cells serve to support, protect, and repair the brain’s blood vessels and neurons, which convey messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Astrocytes in particular support neurons to more efficiently transmit messages and may clean and replace deteriorating parts of neurons, a process critical to neuroplasticity which aids mental functioning, as reported in a previous article by Liberty Nation. Mutations of astrocytes lead to a myriad of behavioral symptoms, including hallucinations and psychosis, in many patients with glioblastoma, according to Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Glioblastomas are particularly malignant and aggressive due to their connection to the brain’s blood vessels. As noted by the Mayo Clinic, the typical treatment for glioblastoma is radiation coupled with the oral chemotherapy medication Temodar, which works by attempting to stop or slow the reproduction of cancer cells. Many other treatment options are currently undergoing clinical trials, but few have shown promising results.
Regardless of political differences with Senator McCain, his bravery remains unquestioned. LN reports that during Senator McCain’s time in captivity during the Vietnam War, he “refused to accept an early release when fellow captives had been scheduled for liberation before him.” Senator McCain’s continues to display such bravery through this difficult time, as his office explains:
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 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.
Liberty Nation will continue following updates on Senator McCain’s condition.