Jul 20, 17, 12:54 PM #1
Sen. John McCain Has Brain CancerGlioblastoma, John McCain’s Form of Brain Cancer, Carries Troubling Prognosis
Senator John McCain’s staff announced on Wednesday that he has a brain tumor called a glioblastoma. The diagnosis was based on a biopsy of the tissue removed from his brain on Friday during surgery at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix.
What sort of brain cancer is this?
Glioblastoma is the most aggressive type of brain tumor. It originates in the brain; it does not spread there from another part of the body. The cause is not known.
This tumor has no relation to melanoma, the skin cancer for which Mr. McCain was treated in the past.
How common is glioblastoma?
An estimated 12,390 new cases were expected in 2017, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. The risk that it will develop increases with age.
How is glioblastoma treated?
Like most cancers, glioblastoma is treated with surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, then radiation and chemotherapy.
The tumor almost always grows back in less than a year. When it recurs, surgeons usually operate again.
Dr. Mitchel Berger, a neurosurgeon and glioblastoma expert at the University of California, San Francisco, said the tumor should be genetically sequenced to look for mutations indicating that the cancer might be especially sensitive to a certain drug, possibly an experimental one.
What is the outlook?
Because they keep returning, glioblastomas are almost never cured, and the prognosis is poor. With treatment, the median survival — which means half of patients live longer than this, and half die sooner — is 12 to 18 months.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy died of glioblastoma in 2009, 15 months after it was diagnosed. Beau Biden, son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., died of the same cancer in 2015, nearly two years after diagnosis.
“We’ve made a fair amount of progress, but it’s been very slow,” Dr. Berger said. “Thirty years ago, no more than 1 or 2 percent of patients survived more than two or three years. Now, at least 25 percent survive three to five years and beyond.”
Do glioblastomas cause symptoms?
Possible symptoms include headaches, seizures, blurred vision and sometimes difficulty with thinking or speaking. What led to Mr. McCain’s diagnosis has not been disclosed.
It is not possible to determine whether the tumor had anything to do with his somewhat confused questioning of James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, in June.
Could Mr. McCain enter a clinical trial of an experimental treatment?
Clinical trials have specific entry criteria for scientific reasons, involving factors like the exact type of the tumor and what kind of treatment a patient has already had.
If the senator matches the criteria for a particular study, he could enroll in a clinical trial.Advertisement
Jul 20, 17, 12:59 PM #2Sen. John McCain faced death twice as a Navy fighter pilot. And survived brutal years as a POW.
Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who has been diagnosed with a deadly form of brain cancer, told his best friend in the Senate: “I’ve been through worse.”
Much worse. Fifty years ago, the former presidential candidate faced down death repeatedly as a Navy fighter pilot during the Vietnam War.
On July 29, 1967, he was sitting in his jet on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal when a rocket from another aircraft accidentally fired, stuck a nearby plane, and ignited a fire that threatened to engulf McCain’s. He scrambled out of the cockpit to safety, seconds before the fire set off bombs that had fallen off another plane.
A chain reaction of explosions ensued. McCain saw a fellow pilot whose clothes were on fire. “I ran toward him,” he told the New York Times the next day. “He was 50 feet in front of me. I got closer and then the first bomb exploded. I was knocked back about ten feet. I never saw him again.”
Three months later, on Oct. 26, 1967, McCain was flying a mission over Hanoi, when an antiaircraft missile blew the right wing off his jet, and he had to eject. Both arms and a leg were broken. He landed in a lake, and was beaten and bayoneted by those who captured him.
He was taken to the notorious Hanoi Hilton prison, where he was further brutalized, repeatedly tortured and kept in solitary confinement for two years. The ordeal would break his body and mind, drive him to attempt suicide and make him a national hero.
McCain’s capture generated news across the United States. His picture ran on the front page of The Washington Post, with the headline “Held in Hanoi.” He was filmed in an enemy hospital, and a copy of the footage was shown to his anguished parents. His father, McCain said in a 2007 interview with The Post, “got down every night and prayed.”
A few months into McCain’s imprisonment, his father, Admiral John S. McCain Jr., was named the Pentagon’s commander in chief for the Pacific, a job that essentially put him in charge of prosecuting the Vietnam War. His father insisted that his change-of-command ceremony be held aboard the USS Oriskany, the carrier from which his son had flown.
Throughout McCain’s imprisonment, his father never wrote him a letter, knowing that the enemy would use it for propaganda. But every Christmas, the elder McCain would fly to Vietnam and visit Marines near the demilitarized zone that then separated North and South Vietnam. At some point, the admiral would walk off by himself and look out to the north over the frontier, as if searching for his son.
Early in McCain’s captivity, the North Vietnamese, well aware of who their prisoner was, offered to release him. He refused, sensing it would shame his father and demoralize his comrades.
In 1972, the admiral was called on to implement B-52 bombing raids on Hanoi, where he knew his son was being held. “B-52s in those days were not exactly totally precision bombing,” McCain said. “There was never a doubt in his mind what he would do. But still, you know your kid’s there, and you’re ordering the bombing of the area.”
McCain and his fellow POWs rejoiced at the bombings. “Thank you!” the Americans shouted as the ground shook and their guards scrambled for cover.
By then, their ordeal was almost over.
Peace accords ending the war were signed in January 1973, and McCain was released in March. His father, who had already retired and was in failing health, was invited to the welcome-home ceremony in the Philippines. He asked whether the parents of other POWs were invited. Told they were not, he declined.
Father and son were reunited a few weeks later in Jacksonville, Fla. “It was a very touching reunion,” McCain said, between the war-weary, old-school admiral and the son he might have killed.
On May 26, 1993, McCain spoke to the Naval Academy’s graduating class. He had just been elected to a second term in the Senate. Friends from around the country had come to hear his speech at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.
It was a warm, breezy day and a triumphant moment.
“For much of my life,” McCain told the crowd, “the Navy was the only world I knew. It is still the world I know best and love most.
“Here we learned to dread dishonor above all other temptations,” he said. He reviewed the achievements of past Navy heroes — pilots and gunners and submariners — and then spoke of his own ordeal.
“I have watched men suffer the anguish of imprisonment, defy appalling human cruelty . . . break for a moment, then recover inhuman strength to defy their enemies once more. All these things and more, I have seen,” he said. “And so will you. My time is slipping by. Yours is fast approaching. You will know where your duty lies. You will know.”
Jul 20, 17, 01:03 PM #3I wonder if that's why he was so out of it during the Comey hearings last month.
Jul 20, 17, 06:07 PM #4
My prayers go out to John McCain. Any man who has served his country the way he has and endured the hardships he has is a hero in my book.
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Jul 20, 17, 06:22 PM #5
Jul 20, 17, 08:42 PM #6Very Sad to hear. Man has done more for this country then most of us combined. Disagree with some of his views on things, but he has been a good one overall.
Jul 20, 17, 08:47 PM #7
Jul 20, 17, 08:51 PM #8
Glioblastoma is a horrible diagnosis. My Uncle was diagnosed with the same tumor in January of last year. He had noticed he was having trouble with his memory and had started stumbling over his words and figuring out things to say. He had almost immediate surgery, and the tumor was completely removed. He did well for several months, but by July the high doses of steroids and drugs used to control the tumor was making him sick, causing weight gain etc. In early August the tumor had returned. He died the first week of October. Prior to this he was an active outdoorsman, smart, funny and the life of the party. The tumor robbed him of everything. Interestingly, he was a Vietnam Vet and active in the Vietnam Vets clubs. Several others that he served with also suffered from the same tumor, and they all were active in areas where Agent Orange was used. Considering McCain served in Vietnam too, I'm convinced that is the root of the tumor.
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Jul 20, 17, 08:59 PM #9His diagnosis didn't stop the crusty old curmudgeon from firing off a swipe at the President today.
McCain criticized Trump for "playing right into the hands" of Russian President Vladimir Putin following a report that the president ended a covert program aiding Syrian rebel groups.
"If these reports are true, the administration is playing right into the hands of Vladimir Putin," McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Thursday. "Making any concessions to Russia, absent a broader strategy for Syria, is irresponsible and short-sighted."
"The administration has yet to articulate its vision for Syria beyond the defeat of ISIL, let alone a comprehensive approach to the Middle East," he said. "A key pillar of American strategy must be the removal of Assad from power as part of an end to the brutal conflict in Syria, which has fueled ISIL's growth through its cruelty, extended malign Iranian influence, and undermined broader regional stability."
"Six months into this administration, there is still no new strategy for victory in Afghanistan either," he continued. "It is now mid-July, when the administration promised to deliver that strategy to Congress, and we are still waiting."
Gotta love this guy. He has a mean streak a mile wide and isn't afraid to say what others are afraid to say. This is one guy who sure as heck isn't a coward like most of them. Give em' hell, John, and kick cancer's butt , too.
Jul 21, 17, 06:04 AM #10
Prayers for John McCain and his family.
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Jul 21, 17, 06:10 AM #11Just horrible news. I pray there is some recovery hope.
Jul 21, 17, 08:45 AM #12All you need to know about McCain was evident when he defended Obama to one of his supporters:
At one point, McCain grabbed the microphone from a woman who had begun to say she didn’t like Obama because he is an Arab. “No, ma’am. No, ma’am,” McCain said. “He’s a decent family man, a citizen who I just happen to have serious differences with on fundamental questions.”
Compare that exchange to how Trump handled every one of his opponents (Republican or Democrat) in the election process.
I truly believe he is good man and would have been a good president.
Jul 21, 17, 08:53 AM #13
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Jul 21, 17, 10:46 AM #15
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