John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer.
The Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix has confirmed that the 80-year old Republican Senator from Arizona has “a glioblastoma” that was found via testing after he went in for surgery on a blood clot over his eye on July 14.
According to the American Brain Tumor Association, Glioblastoma is an especially aggressive tumor that forms in the tissue of the brain and spinal cord.
The politician – who ran against Barack Obama for President in 2008 – will weigh his future medical options, but a representative says he will likely undergo a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.
A statement from McCain’s office just minutes after the diagnosis went public says he is “in good spirits as he continues to recover at home with his family in Arizona.”
It reads in full:
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 grateful to the doctors and staff at Mayo Clinic for their outstanding care, and 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.
The Mayo Clinic, meanwhile, emphasizes that McCain’s “underlying health is excellent” and that “treatment options” are being debated by his medical team.
The blood clot for which McCain was treated last week was over the senator’s left eye, not far from the left temple where he was diagnosed with melanoma in 2000.
Prior to this diagnosis, the long-time politician had three other malignant melanomas removed in 1993, 2000 and 2002. None of these melanomas were invasive.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells CNN that the average survival rate for malignant glioblastoma tends to be around 14 months with treatment.
“The news of my father’s illness has affected every one of us in the McCain Family,” Tweeted Meghan McCain on Wednesday night, adding:
“It won’t surprise you to learn that in all this, the one of us who is most confident and calm is my father.”
You can read the complete, moving statement below:
In 1967, while serving in the United States Navy, McCain was shot down during a Vietnam War mission.
He was held captive by the enemy until 1973, surviving years of torture that left him with many physical ailments for the rest of his life.
He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981 and moved to Arizona; he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 and was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986.
McCain ran for the Republican nomination in 2000, but lost in a primary to George W. Bush.
Eight years later, he represented the GOP in the general Presidential election, but lost to Obama.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called McCain “a hero to our conference and a hero to our country” upon learning of his cancer diagnosis, adding:
“He has never shied from a fight and I know that he will face this challenge with the same extraordinary courage that has characterized his life. We all look forward to seeing this American hero again soon.”
With messages of support pouring in all over social media, Arizona’s other senator, Jeff Flake, wrote on Twitter:
“Just spoke to @SenJohnMcCain. Tough diagnosis, but even tougher man.”
And this from Democratic senator Brian Schatz: “This is awful news. The country owes a debt of gratitude to this American hero.”
We share these sentiments and we send our thoughts to John McCain and his family during this dificult time.