Sen. John McCain diagnosed with brain cancer

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Arizona Sen. John McCain is recovering after having surgery. (17 July 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5] Arizona Sen. John McCain is recovering after having surgery. (17 July 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5]
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Arizona Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer, his staff announced Wednesday. 

McCain underwent surgery last week to remove a blood clot above his left eye and was at home recovering.

In a statement late Wednesday, doctors reveal that McCain has been diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer. The statement says the 80-year-old senator and his family are reviewing further treatment, including a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.

"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," his office said in a statement.

[WATCH: Sen. Jeff Flake: "He's upbeat and positive as he always is."]

About 20,000 people in the U.S. each year are diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive type of brain tumor. The American Cancer Society puts the five-year survival rate for patients over 55 at about 4 percent.

The tumor digs tentacle-like roots into normal brain tissue.

"It infiltrates, maybe like butter melting into bread," Barrow neurosurgeon Dr. Peter Nakaji explained.

Patients fare best when surgeons can cut out all the visible tumor, which happened with McCain's tumor, according to his office. That isn't a cure; cancerous cells that aren't visible still tend to lurk, the reason McCain's doctors are considering further treatment including chemotherapy and radiation.

[WATCH: Barrow neurosurgeon explains McCain's diagnosis]

The senator and chairman of the Armed Services Committee had been recovering at his Arizona home. His absence had forced Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to delay action on health care legislation. McCain had been slated to oversee debate of the sweeping defense policy bill in the coming weeks.

As word spread of his diagnosis, President Donald Trump and McCain's Senate colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, offered their prayers and support.

"Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family. Get well soon," Trump said.

McConnell called McCain a "hero to our conference and a hero to our country. He has never shied from a fight and I know that he will face this challenge with the same extraordinary courage that has characterized his life."

Sen. Jeff Flake spoke with 3TV/CBS about the fellow Arizona senator and said, "He's upbeat and positive as he always is."

[HOW YOU CAN HELP: Donate to American Brain Tumor Association | Donate to American Cancer Society]

A Navy pilot, McCain was shot down over Vietnam and held as a prisoner of war for 5 1/2 years.

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said McCain "is a fighter, and I am hopeful he will once again beat the odds."

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey described McCain as "undoubtedly the toughest man in the United States Senate. He is an American hero and has served our country like few ever will."

[RELATED: Sen. McCain diagnosed with brain tumor after clot removed]

Doctors say McCain is recovering from his surgery amazingly well and his underlying health is excellent, according to the statement.

His office disclosed the removal of the blood clot late Saturday and said the senator was awaiting pathology reports. In the past, McCain had been treated for melanoma.

[RELATED: Sen. John McCain had aggressive brain tumor surgically removed]

In a statement on Twitter, his daughter, Meghan McCain, said: "My love for my father is boundless and like any daughter I cannot and do not wish to be in a world without him. I have faith that those days remain far away."

With his irascible grin and fighter-pilot moxie, McCain was elected to the Senate from Arizona six times, but twice thwarted in seeking the presidency.

[RELATED: McCain's brain tumor is particularly aggressive type]

An upstart presidential bid in 2000 didn't last long. Eight years later, he fought back from the brink of defeat to win the GOP nomination, only to be overpowered by Obama. McCain chose a little-known Alaska governor as his running mate in that race, and helped turn Palin into a national political figure.

After losing to Obama in an electoral landslide, McCain returned to the Senate, determined not to be defined by a failed presidential campaign. And when Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015, McCain embraced his new job as chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee, eager to play a big role "in defeating the forces of radical Islam that want to destroy America."

[RELATED: McCain faces his greatest battle]

Throughout his long tenure in Congress, McCain has played his role with trademark verve, at one hearing dismissing a protester by calling out, "Get out of here, you low-life scum."

In 2016, McCain stuck by Trump at times seemingly through gritted teeth - until the release a month before the election of a lewd audio in which Trump said he could kiss and grab women. Declaring that the breaking point, McCain withdrew his support and said he would write in "some good conservative Republican who's qualified to be president."

[RELATED: Grief, support pours in after McCain brain cancer diagnosis]

He had largely held his tongue earlier in the campaign when Trump questioned his status as a war hero by saying: "He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."

McCain said that was offensive to veterans, but "the best thing to do is put it behind us and move forward."

On Wednesday, McCain's office released a statement, saying:

[RELATED: The absolutely remarkable life of John McCain]

"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. 

"Scanning done since the procedure (a minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision) shows that the
tissue of concern was completely resected by imaging criteria.

"The Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. 

"The Senator's doctors say he is recovering from his surgery 'amazingly well' and his underlying health is excellent."

[AMERICAN BRAIN TUMOR ASSOCIATION: What is a glioblastoma?]

The office of Senator John McCain also released the following statement:

"Senator McCain appreciates the outpouring of support he has received over the last few days. He is in good spirits as he continues to recover at home with his family in Arizona. He is grateful to the doctors and staff at Mayo Clinic for their outstanding care, and is confident that any future treatment will be effective. Further consultations with Senator McCain's Mayo Clinic care team will indicate when he will return to the United States Senate."

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