WASHINGTON – Sen. John McCain – whose surgery for a blood clot last Friday shelved the Senate’s vote this week to repeal and replace Obamacare – has been diagnosed with brain cancer, his office disclosed Wednesday night.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix removed a malignant brain tumor known as a glioblastoma from the Republican senator along with a blood clot in his scheduled surgery last Friday, a spokesperson said Wednesday night.
Gliobastoma is a common type of brain cancer but is also the deadliest.
McCain’s office had previously announced only that the blood clot had been removed from above his left eye.
McCain was discharged on Saturday and his doctors say he is recovering “amazingly well.”
The hospital said in a statement released by McCain’s office Wednesday night that he and his family are reviewing treatment options with his Mayo health care team. Those options might include chemotherapy and radiation.
McCain’s scheduled surgery last Friday delayed the vote on the Senate Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The vote had been scheduled for this past Monday. More Republican senators came out against the bill and forced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to shelve it and instead push for a vote on a clean repeal of the ACA, also known as Obamacare.
A spokesperson for McCain said he will consult with his doctors to determine when he will return to the Senate.
An extended absence would likely make it even tougher for Republicans to repeal or replace the ACA. Senate Republicans have a narrow 52-48 majority and, with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence, can only afford to lose two votes if McCain is present. His absence means that two Republican “no” votes would now sink any legislation if all 48 Democrats are unified in opposition.
McCain was re-elected in 2016 to his sixth Senate term. He lost the presidential election to Barack Obama in 2008 and finished second to George W. Bush in the 2000 GOP presidential primary. Prior to his political career, McCain served as an aviator in the Navy. During five and a half years of captivity as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, he was repeatedly tortured. He retired as a highly decorated captain, earning the Silver Star and, the Bronze Star, among other honors.
The senator has had several bouts of skin cancer. In 2000, a dime-sized melanoma on his left temple was removed. He has regular screenings for skin cancer.
CNN’s chief medical correspondent, neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta, spoke with McCain’s doctors Wednesday night. Gupta said treatment will start in about three to four weeks, after McCain’s wounds heal.
McCain’s daughter, Fox News analyst Meghan McCain, co-host of Fox News’ “Outnumbered,” issued a lengthy statement praising her father. She said in part:
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 had every other. Cancer may afflict him in many ways: but it will not make him surrender. Nothing ever has.
McCain’s illness sparked an outpouring of support from both sides of the aisle.
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