What you want to know about Senator McCain’s glioblastoma

McCain's brain tumor, a glioblastoma, was discovered while having surgery for a blood clot over his left eye. He returns to the senate today like the maverick he is.

(image via flickr/Jim Greenhill)

SAN DIEGO, July 25, 2017–  Senator McCain is an American hero and political icon and when news of his brain tumor was recently announced, it sent shock waves throughout our Country.

Captured by the Vietnamese and brutally tortured in their prisoner of war
camp, the Hanoi Hilton, McCain refused his privilege as an Admiral’s son, which would have allowed him to leave, instead choosing to remain for five years with the soldiers he commanded.

He returned to the U.S. as a celebrated war hero, exemplifying courage and
service above self.

(Photograph: McCain waiting for the rest of the group to leave the bus at airport after being released as POW Record Group 428 General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1947-2004 Citation: 428-GX Box 262 N 11556665 Rediscovery #10473 10473_2007_001/via simple wikipedia)

Elected to Congress in 1982, he later won a seat in the U.S. Senate, where
he has faithfully served until this day.

McCain’s brain tumor, a glioblastoma, was discovered while having surgery
for a blood clot over his left eye. According to the American Brain Tumor Association, a glioblastoma is a highly malignant brain tumor which forms from astrocytes, star-shaped cells that make up the supportive tissue of the brain and that tend to reproduce quickly.

(image via wikimedia/Christaras – not an image of Senator McCain)

As a brain tumor, glioblastomas account for approximately 15.4% of all
brain tumors, and they are most prevalent in men and those of the age 45
to 65.

The American Brain Tumor Association suggests the following symptoms as
possibly indicative of the presence of a glioblastoma, as its growth
provides pressure to the brain:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Memory loss
  • Behavioral changes
  • Loss in movement
  • Loss of sensation on one side of the body
  • Language difficulties
  • Cognitive impairment

If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms seek immediate
medical attention from a qualified medical practitioner, usually a
neurologist is recommended. Senator McCain has stated that he had some double or blurred vision.

Treatment is complex and may involve surgery to affect involved brain
tissue, followed by more common therapies which include medications,
targeted radiation, photon beam therapy, targeted chemotherapy and more.

Survival rates vary depending upon severity of the glioblastoma and
required therapies and can range from approximately 14 months to 2
years (30%), and five years or longer (10%). There are reports of surviving
10-20 years.

Treatment is considered generally well-tolerated by most however physical responses vary and include mild to severe fatigue. Drug treatments may require antidepressants, brain stimulating drugs, anti-nausea drugs and/or sleeping medications.

Exactly what methods of treatment Senator McCain will choose are currently
unknown. Also unknown is how he will fare throughout the treatment and recovery process.

What is known is that he has the support of fellow Senators and that, exhibiting his relentless fighting spirit, he returned to the Capital today in order to vote on the American Health Care Act, which he did, allowing today’s bill to pass the senate.

He also made an impassioned plea for the Senate to return to regular order as the greatest deliberative body in the world, declaring “We are getting nothing done!”

Senator McCain’s openness about his condition is considered a public gift
as he is raising awareness for the need to fund research which benefits
those suffering from glioblastoma and other serious brain tumors.

Glioblastoma is what was responsible for Senator Ted Kennedy’s death, and
that of Senator Joseph Biden’s son Beau. Since Senator Biden’s son’s death to glioblastoma, he has taken the lead to promote the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative in an effort to end all cancer in America over the next 5 years.

Senator Biden, in a public tweet about Senator McCain’s illness, said that
“…He is strong-and he will beat this.”

Senator McCain had this to say in a recent public tweet following his
diagnosis: “I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support-unfortunately
for my sparring partners in Congress, I’ll be back soon, so stand-by!”

(screenshot via Twitter)

And for most Americans, they would certainly hope that Senator McCain is
absolutely right!

All of us at LifeCycles are wishing Senator McCain a successful and speedy

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

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Laurie Edwards-Tate
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today. Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service. Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home. Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. Follow Laurie and AYHF at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare