Senator John McCain has primary glioblastoma, a very aggressive type of brain cancer. Glioblastoma is the same type of cancer that the late Senator Ted Kennedy had.
Last Friday, Senator McCain went in for a regular check up in Phoenix, Arizona and after telling the doctor about feeling ‘foggy’ and occasionally having double vision, a CT scan was ordered and soon therapy, he was operated on.
The operation is said to be a success and the Senator has been at his home since Saturday recovering from surgery.
Glioblastomas arise from astrocytes (glia cells). This type of cancer is usually very aggressive since the cells reproduce quickly and are supported by a large network of blood vessels.
Early symptoms of a glioblastoma will depend on the where the tumor is located but common symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. Memory, speech difficulties, and visual problems, like that experienced by Senator McCain are also common.
According to a CCN report
, the surgery on Friday lasted about 3 to 4 hours and post-surgical brain scans show the tissue that was a concern (near his eye) had been completely removed.
Once the Senator has recovered from surgery, the next step in the treatment may involve chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy since surgery usually does not remove all of the cancer.
Unfortunately, the prognosis for people with glioblastoma is not very good. The median survival time is less than 15 months and only 30% of patients live longer than 2 years.
With that said, Senator McCain has a long history of overcoming adversity. From surviving as a prisoner of war for 5 years in Vietnam to be treated successfully for skin cancer, the Senator from Arizona is the personification of survival.