John McCain diagnosed with brain cancer

Senator John McCain .
Senator John McCain .(AFP/Getty Images)

Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer following his recent surgery, according to a statement from his office.

A tumor known as a glioblastoma was found as McCain, 80, underwent a procedure to remove a blood clot from above his left eye last week at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix.

McCain, a Republican from Arizona and 2008 presidential nominee, is reviewing treatment options, which could include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.

His doctors say the US senator from Arizona is recovering from his surgery “amazingly well” and called his overall health “excellent,” according to the statement.


A statement from his office said the senator “is confident that any future treatment will be effective,” but said that more medical consultations are needed before giving any definitive answer on when (or if) he’d return to the Senate.

McCain’s daughter, Meghan, sent a statement from her official Twitter account asking for “prayers of those of you who understand this all too well.”

“It won’t surprise you to learn that in all this, the one of us who is most confident and calm is my father,” she wrote. “He is the toughest person I know. The cruelest enemy could not break him. The aggressions of political life could not bend him. So he is meeting this challenge as he has every other.”

The tumor discovered in McCain’s brain is the same type that was also found in Ted Kennedy, the late US senator of Massachusetts.

According to the American Brain Tumor Association, more than 12,000 people a year are diagnosed with glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive type of tumor. The American Cancer Society puts the five-year survival rate for patients over 55 at about 4 percent.

The tumor digs tentacle-like roots into brain tissue. Patients fare best when surgeons can cut out all the visible tumor, which happened with McCain’s tumor, his office said. That isn’t a cure; cancerous cells still tend to lurk, the reason McCain’s doctors are considering further treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation.


The following is the statement sent to the press:

“On Friday, July 14, Sen. John McCain underwent a procedure to remove a blood clot from above his left eye at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix. Subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot.

“Scanning done since the procedure (a minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision) shows that the tissue of concern was completely resected by imaging criteria.

“The Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.

“The Senator’s doctors say he is recovering from his surgery ‘amazingly well’ and his underlying health is excellent.”

The office of Senator John McCain also released the following statement:

“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.”


Matt Viser of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.