Sen. John McCain reveals how he found out he had brain cancer

  • In his new memoir, Arizona senator and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain revealed the heartbreaking details of how he found out he had brain cancer.

  • McCain's fight with brain cancer has kept him home in Arizona and away from Congress.

In his new memoir, Arizona senator and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain revealed the heartbreaking details of how he found out he had brain cancer.

In McCain's book, titled "The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations," he writes that he was scheduled for a regular physical on Friday, July 14, 2017 at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

After completing his physical, McCain was heading out of town for the weekend when his physician told him to turn around and come back to the Mayo Clinic. The brain scan that McCain had undergone during his physical had discovered something.

According to McCain, he underwent surgery several hours later. Like McCain, the neurosurgeon who performed the procedure was also on his way out of town before being called back. The procedure was a minimally invasive craniotomy with eyebrow incision.

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McCain described the five hour-plus surgery as "they cut a hole in my skull along my left eyebrow to look at my brain's left frontal lobe and see what the trouble was." It was a two-inch blood clot that they found and removed, McCain said.

McCain was back on his feet quickly, as he went home the next day after the surgery and responded well cognitively to questions posed to him by the physicians.

However, a few days later, it was revealed that the blood clot was a primary brain tumor. McCain never heard of the medical term before and did not fully understand the diagnosis, but he knew it was serious when someone brought up the late Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.

"I knew it was serious from the sober demeanor of the medical professionals in the room, and when someone, I don't remember who, mentioned that it was the same cancer that Ted had, I got the picture."

While the procedure successfully removed the tumor, McCain was told that the form of brain cancer could spread across his body.

Despite recovering well from the procedure and being in good physical condition, McCain's physicians did not think that he should travel to Washington for the debate and vote over health care before undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

However, in McCain-esque fashion, he was able to convince his physicians to allow him to fly back to Washington and famously vote against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

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