McCain calls brain cancer prognosis ‘very poor’

WASHINGTON (AP/CBS) – U.S. Sen. John McCain says doctors have given him a “very poor prognosis” as he battles brain cancer.

McCain underwent surgery in July for a brain tumor that was later found to be a form of glioblastoma, the same type of cancer that took the life of his former Senate colleague Edward M. Kennedy in 2009.

McCain tells CBS’ “60 Minutes” in an interview that aired Sunday night that he thinks about Kennedy a lot. He says Kennedy continued to work despite the diagnosis and “never gave up because he loved the engagement.”

McCain says he has “feelings sometimes of fear of what happens,” but counters that with gratitude for having lived “had a great life.”

He adds: “it’s not that you’re leaving, it’s that you – that you stayed.”

The following is a snippet of the interview that aired on 60 minutes:

The senator first learned he had a problem in Arizona back in July when doctors found a blood clot over his left eye after a routine check up at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. He was driving back to the ranch when he got word.

John McCain: I was driving up here, and I got about two-thirds of the way up. And my doctor called and said, “You’ve got to come back.” And I said, “Hey, today’s Friday. I’ll just come in on Monday.” And she said, “No, you have to come now. It’s very serious.”

Lesley Stahl: You turned the car around?

John McCain: Uh-huh (affirm).

Lesley Stahl: And went immediately into surgery?

John McCain: Yes. They thought it was serious enough that they had to act immediately.

Lesley Stahl: And before the blood clot operation, did they mention glioblastoma to you?

John McCain: Yes. But, as you know, doctors are interesting.

Lesley Stahl: They cover themselves.

John McCain: I kept saying to them, “Tell it to me straight.” “Well, there’s always this. There’s always that.” You know, and– and I said, “I can take it. Just tell me.” And then they were more forthcoming.

Five days after the surgery, lab results confirmed he had glioblastoma.

Lesley Stahl: What did they tell you about the prognosis?

John McCain: They said that it’s very serious. That the prognosis is very, very serious. Some say three percent, some say 14 percent. You know, it’s a very poor prognosis. So I just said, “I understand. Now we’re gonna do what we can, get the best doctors we can find and do the best we can.” And, at the same time, celebrate with gratitude a life well lived.

Lesley Stahl: Was he that tough?

Cindy McCain: Yes. He is that tough.

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