Doctor: Those With McCain's Cancer Live 16 to 18 Months

'Cancer doesn't know what it's up against,' Obama says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2017 4:57 AM CDT
Updated Jul 20, 2017 6:20 AM CDT
McCain 'Has Rough Journey Ahead of Him'
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks on Capitol Hill last month.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Lawmakers from both parties say they're deeply saddened by the news that Sen. John McCain has an aggressive form of brain cancer. McCain has glioblastoma, a type of tumor that Michael Berens at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix has studied for 30 years. He tells the Arizona Republic that the tumor spreads with "finger-like projections," with wandering cells creating "guerilla warfare in the brain." He says that patients who undergo surgery and chemotherapy survive for an average of 16 to 18 months after diagnosis. "When I heard of the diagnosis, my heart sank,” Berens says. McCain is "a man of great courage and endurance. He has a rough journey ahead of him." In other coverage:

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters he spoke to McCain, a close friend, Wednesday and that the senator briefly discussed his condition before saying, "I've been through worse" and shifting the conversation to politics, Politico reports. "God knows how this ends, not me," Graham said. "But I do know this: This disease has never had a more worthy opponent."

  • Barack Obama was among the many other well-wishers. "John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I've ever known," he tweeted. "Cancer doesn't know what it's up against. Give it hell, John."
  • President Trump tweeted: "Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family. Get well soon."
  • The Washington Post has more on glioblastoma, which killed both Sen. Ted Kennedy and Beau Biden, Joe Biden's son. Experts say that symptoms, including problems expressing yourself or understanding what you're listening to, are often only recognized in hindsight.
  • Deepa Subramaniam, director of the brain tumor center at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, tells the Post that survival times vary widely, with 30% of patients living more than two years after the diagnosis and 10% surviving five years. In rare cases, she says, some patients survive for as long as 15 or 20 years.
  • The Hill reports that Republican senators who were gathered for a meeting on health care negotiations prayed for McCain on Wednesday night after hearing the news. They acknowledged that his absence will make it even tougher to pass health care legislation.
  • McCain's office says he's in good spirits, is "grateful to the doctors and staff at Mayo Clinic for their outstanding care, and is confident that any future treatment will be effective." The office says it will be up to doctors when McCain returns to the Senate.
  • One of the most moving messages in support of the senator came from daughter Meghan McCain, reports the New York Times. "It won't surprise you to learn that in all this, the one of us who is most confident and calm is my father. He is the toughest person I know," she tweeted. "Cancer may afflict him in many ways: but it will not make him surrender. Nothing ever has."
(More John McCain stories.)

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