Sen. John McCain opened up about his battle with brain cancer on Sunday, adding it to the list of other near-fatal encounters he’s faced.
“I’m facing a challenge,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But I’ve faced other challenges, and I’m very confident about getting through this one as well.”
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In his first nationally televised interview since his diagnosis in July, McCain discussed with CNN’s Jake Tapper some of the details of his battle against glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer. At times, the 81-year-old, sixth-term Republican senator was somber, upbeat and reflective about his storied career that included two presidential runs and more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam after his Navy jet was shot down.
“You know, every life has to end one way or another,” he said.
McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments following surgery to remove a brain tumor. He said he’s scheduled for a magnetic resonance imaging test on Monday that should reveal more.
“Everything so far has gone very, very well, and I’m very grateful,” he said. “I’ve had no side effects, no nothing, except, frankly, an increased level of energy.”
But he was quick to add, “I’m not trying to paint this as a rosy picture.”
“This is a very virulent form of cancer, it has to be fought against,” he made clear. “We have new technologies, which I won’t bother you with the details of, that make chances much better.”
McCain recounted his presidential run in 2000 — one of the high points of his career, he said — when he fought past his underdog status and gave George W. Bush a hard fight for the Republican presidential nomination.
“Those joyful memories of the campaign in 2000 were some of the most enjoyable times of my life,” McCain said. “We were the underdogs. We were fighting our way up. … Everything was so magic about that campaign.”
“I hope this is not our last interview,” Tapper told McCain as it came to an end.
“A lot of people want it to be the last,” McCain wryly replied.