Former U.S Republican Party Presidential Aspirant Senator John McCain revealed Wednesday that he has a primary brain tumor. The cancer was discovered during cranial surgery last week to remove a blood clot above his left eye.
In a statement from Mayo Clinic, McCain’s doctors described the tumor as a glioblastoma.
Glioblastoma tumors are typically malignant and difficult to treat because they contain so many types of cells, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.
“It’s a very aggressive tumor,” said Dr. Joseph Zabramski, a neurosurgeon at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix not involved in McCain’s treatment. “In general, it is a tumor that has relentless force. You can slow it down but not stop it.”
The median survival rate for the most common type of glioblastoma is 14.6 months, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. About 30% of patients live two years with glioblastomas.
The 80-year-old McCain, R-Ariz., is reviewing treatment options with his family. Those could include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation, according to the Mayo statement.
McCain, a retired naval aviator, was first elected to Congress in 1982, succeeding the retiring former U.S. House Minority Leader John Rhodes, R-Ariz. In 1986, McCain ran for and won the Senate seat vacated by the retiring U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., and was re-elected in 1992, 1998, 2004, 2010 and 2016.
He first ran for president in 2000, coming up short in the GOP primaries against then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush. In 2008, McCain secured the GOP nomination but lost to Democrat Barack Obama in the general election.