American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) Statement Regarding Senator John McCain’s Glioblastoma (GBM) Diagnosis

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July 20, 2017

The American Brain Tumor Association’s thoughts and prayers are with Senator John McCain and his family as they begin to absorb and process the senator’s Glioblastoma (GBM) diagnosis.

Glioblastoma, or GBM, is the most frequently diagnosed malignant brain tumor and represents about 15 percent of all primary brain tumors. An estimated 12,000 individuals will be diagnosed with a GBM this year and begin a journey that is certain to take a devastating toll on the patient’s and family’s physical, emotional, social and financial well-being.

Primary brain tumors are those that originate in the brain. Secondary, or metastatic brain tumors, are those that begin as a cancer elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain.  There are more than 120 types of primary brain tumor. This year alone 80,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with a primary brain tumor and an estimated 200,000-300,000 will be diagnosed with a metastatic brain tumor.

While we are seeing scientific and medical advances in the field, the brain is a complicated structure and brain tumors, especially GBM, remain confounding for the scientists studying them, for the clinicians treating them, and for the patients and families and friends whose lives are disrupted and forever changed by them.

For nearly 45 years, the ABTA has funded brain tumor research and provided patients and families with access to resources and information to help them better understand and cope with their diagnosis, their treatment options and their side effects.

It is for Senator McCain and all those who are living and coping with this diabolical disease that we remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing the understanding and treatment of brain tumors and to improving, extending and, ultimately, saving the lives of those impacted by a brain tumor diagnosis.


Founded in 1973, the American Brain Tumor Association was the first national patient advocacy organization committed to funding brain tumor research and providing education and information for people of all tumor types and all ages.  For more information, visit or call 800-886-ABTA (2282)