WASHINGTON — Pathology on a blood clot removed from above the left eye of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) last Friday has revealed the 2008 Republican presidential nominee has brain cancer.
The six-term senator and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, 80, was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the same aggressive type of tumor suffered by late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Beau Biden.
“Subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot,” the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix said in a statement. “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 clinic added that doctors say McCain is recovering from surgery “amazingly well” and “his underlying health is excellent.”
A statement from McCain’s office thanked well-wishers for their support, and said the senator is in “good spirits” as he recovers at home and “is confident that any future treatment will be effective.” When he returns to the Senate will be decided in conjunction with his doctors, the senator’s office added.
Meghan McCain tweeted a statement on the “shock” of the news, noting that her father is the “most confident and calm” in their family right now and “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. Cancer may afflict him in many ways. But it will not make him surrender. Nothing ever has,” she added.
The senator was treated for invasive malignant melanoma on his left temple in 2000.
McCain’s best friend in the Senate, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), told CNN on Tuesday that he was worried about McCain’s health before the blood clot removal. “He sounded like a different person. He clearly was a hurting guy,” Graham said of their conversation after McCain’s surgery. “I think they relieved the pressure and he sounded like the old John McCain, dying to get back and talking about driving across the country. I said no.”
Doctors who spoke to CNN with McCain’s permission said the senator came in every four months due to a skin cancer check. He reported periods of double vision and feelings of fogginess, which prompted a CT scan. He showed no cognitive delays after the surgery.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called McCain “a hero to our conference and a hero to our country.”
“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. The entire Senate family’s prayers are with John, Cindy and his family, his staff, and the people of Arizona he represents so well,” McConnell said. “We all look forward to seeing this American hero again soon.”
Tweeted his 2008 opponent, President Obama: “John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I’ve ever known. Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.”
UPDATE 9:20 p.m. EST: The White House issued this statement from President Trump: “Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family. Get well soon.”