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McCain has blood clot removed from brain by Mayo surgeons

Update, Weds. 7/19: McCain diagnosed with aggressive, deadly brain cancer

U.S. Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, following surgery to remove what testing showed was a glioblastoma tumor last Friday.

That form of cancer is the most aggressive type that begins in the brain, with early symptoms that may include personality changes, headaches, and symptoms similar to those of a stroke.

The seriousness of the disease puts in doubt McCain's return to the U.S. Senate any time soon. Read more»

Earlier:

U.S. Sen. John McCain had a two-inch blood clot removed from his brain above his left eye on Friday. Surgeons at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix performed the operation, which required a craniotomy near his eyebrow.

It's not yet known if the clot was a sign of cancer, doctors said publicly. No reference was made to a cranial clot being a potential cause of an ischemic stroke.

The 80-year-old Republican senator from Arizona had the surgery following an annual physical, his doctors said in a statement released by his office.

"Surgeons successfully removed the 5-cm blood clot during a minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision," the Mayo doctors said. "Tissue pathology reports are pending within the next several days."

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The statement released by McCain's office did not detail the location of the clot that was removed, nor what symptoms may have prompted the testing that led doctors to operate and open up the senator's skull. No information about a prognosis was provided.

McCain is "in good spirits and recovering comfortably at home with his family," his office said. He will remain in Arizona to recover next week rather than return to Washington, D.C. McCain's absence will hamper the ability of GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to push legislation to repeal Obamacare and cut taxes on the wealthy. McConnell announced last week that he would cut in half the traditional August recess of the Senate, pushing it back by two weeks in order to take action on Republican priorities.

McCain had surgery to remove Stage IIa melanoma in 2000, including removing the lymph nodes on the left side of his neck. He has had four operations to remove skin cancers since 1993, and at least one non-cancerous mole removed as a precaution, in 2008.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

McCain in 2014