CNN reported on July 19th, 2017, about the presence of a brain tumor called '#Glioblastoma' in Senator #John McCain's head. The fatal condition, as confirmed by the doctors at the Mayo Clinic is said to be associated with an optical surgery which Mr. McCain underwent on Friday.

The doctors claimed to have removed most of the tumor and even expressed optimism over Mr. McCain's recovery process post-surgery. However, according to the Washington Post, the octogenarian leader from Arizona and his family are considering leaving no stone unturned in his treatment. They have no qualms about even exploring a broad range of treatment combinations, including, radiation and chemotherapy, given the weak recovery track record of the patients.

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Interestingly, it is not the first time that the Republican Senator has had a close brush with death. According to the Washington Post, the military veteran turned politician revealed to his best friend in the Senate how he had earlier faced and triumphed death twice as a Navy, fighter pilot. The episode dates back to the Vietnam War in which Mr. McCain was held captive as a prisoner of war (POW) and brutally tortured for years.

However, things are different this time as the aging soldier has to confront an enemy within. Hence, the victory for Mr. McCain would depend on a host of other factors apart from his inner physical and psychological strength, including the nature of the disease along with his overall preparedness to deal with it.

Understanding 'Glioblastoma'

The American Brain Tumor Association describes glioblastoma as a fatally aggressive tumor which colonizes the brain tissue and spinal cord and spreads rapidly due to the supportive blood vessels.

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According to an article published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, despite mostly targeting the entire brain, the carcinogenic condition, has no predefined area of influence. It can also occur in the cerebellum, brain stem, and the spinal cord.

Existing medical literature reports diagnosing 61 per cent of all primary tumors in the four brain lobes, which adversely impact 16 per cent of all major brain and central nervous system neoplasms.

Further, regardless of its highly destructive nature, glioblastoma is not an unusual medical condition. In fact, NPR reports that every year it affects12,000 Americans.

The ailment mostly occurs around 64 years and above. Even though it does not have a predefined age bar and child patients also exist. Moreover, Caucasian men are a more vulnerable population than both females and males belonging to other ethnicities.

Word from the medical fraternity

Medical fraternity worldwide agrees that glioblastoma has a poor prognosis history, with no apparent recovery or survival trend.

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Dr. Jordan Grabel, chief of neurosurgery at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach reports seeing only 25 per cent brain tumor patients survive for three years post-diagnosis, with most of the remaining dying within 16 months of the devastating revelation. On the other hand, NPR reports instances where the survivors lived for one full decade.

Talking about long-term survivors, a similarly complex clinical data exists.

A report titled, Glioblastoma: Is Survival Possible? Highlights the role played both by the nature of treatment and patient characteristics in enhancing patient longevity. The results are positively skewed towards the type of therapy administered. Chemotherapy and any of its variations such as brachytherapy take the lead, along with concurrent radiation using temozolomide (TMZ), an oral chemotherapy drug used to kill the mutation process of cancerous cells by targeting their DNA.

On the other hand, studies favoring patient characteristics mostly showcase young age and female gender at the time of diagnosis as factors increasing patient life span. Besides, another body of research attributes large cell histology and lower mutation rates to patient longevity.

Where does it leave Senator John McCain?

The facts mentioned above about the illness indicate a grim picture for #senator john mccain. Being an 80-year-old male, the treatment odds are already stacked up against him.

Chemotherapy and radiation could be a saving grace. However, whether or not Mr. McCain's frail body can tolerate such a massive dosage of treatment is also a big question.

As Nader Sanai, director of neurosurgical oncology at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, while speaking to NPR, reports, "the older you are, the worse your prognosis is, partly because more elderly patients are often aren't strong enough to tolerate aggressive radiation and chemotherapy."

Thus, at present, the only thing favoring Mr. McCain is his 'never say die attitude' developed as a result of fighting and winning countless wars. After all, life is never easy for a soldier.

Then, there are prayers and blessings of his millions of supporters, including friends and family members.

Hopefully! Almighty listens.