Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer. According to a statement released by his office, “On Friday, July 14, Sen. John McCain underwent a procedure to remove a blood clot from above his left eye at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix. Subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot.”
Glioblastoma is an aggressive form of cancer that is difficult to treat because of its complex structure. According to the American Brain Tumor Association, “Glioblastomas are tumors that arise from astrocytes – the star-shaped cells that make up the “glue-like,” or supportive tissue of the brain. These tumors are usually highly malignant (cancerous) because the cells reproduce quickly and they are supported by a large network of blood vessels.”
Senator McCain underwent surgery on July 14, 2017, to remove a blood clot after a routine yearly checkup. The doctors found that the clot was associated with a tumor. Further analysis found that the tumor was glioblastoma.
Senator McCain returned to the Senate on July 25, 2017, and delivered a passionate address to his colleagues. He called upon his fellow senators to return to “regular order” and made a call for more cooperation and less partisanship from both sides of the isle. McCain rebuked the body for failing to pass any substantive legislation and noted that the reason is extremism and an abandonment of the rules and procedures that were put in place to ensure the broadest amount of consensus possible between the parties. McCain called upon his fellow Senators to, “stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio, television and the internet. To hell with them!” Claiming that the increase in ideological partisanship and hardline views are what is inhibiting their ability to perform their basic duties. He went on to say that, “They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our (the Senate’s) incapacity is their livelihood. Let’s trust each other. Let’s return to regular order. We’ve been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find ways to win without help from across the aisle.”
McCain cast several important votes including a vote to bring the repeal of the ACA to the floor for debate on amendments. He then made good on his earlier words by being the deciding vote that killed the passage of the repeal bill along with two of his fellow Republicans and unified opposition from the Democrats. There is no word on what the next step to repeal and replace the ACA will be.
Due to the aggressive nature of this form of cancer, there is a chance that he may not be able to serve in the Senate for much longer. The prognosis is grim with most people living less than a year after diagnosis, even with treatment. This is the same type of cancer that took Senator Edward Kennedy in 2009 and Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau, in 2015. Senator McCain will be returning to Arizona for treatment after the Senate recess.