Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Melanoma and McCain

As promised, I'm doing some due diligence on McCain's medical records today. I came across an interesting read from the Salon. Here's an excerpt:

The melanomas removed in 2000 were Stage IIa. Stage IV is the most serious category. Survival rate for State IIa melanomas 10 years after diagnosis is 65 percent. The longer the patient survives, the better the prognosis becomes. Because McCain has survived more than five years already, the likelihood of the cancer's return has fallen to 14 percent, and the incidence of death is projected at 9 percent.

These seems to debunk some of the information in the previous video (See: scary death charts in video). While almost a 1 in 10 chance of dying is somewhat disturbing, I was under the impression his chances weren't even that good. Also, one must consider that the President gets slightly better medical attention than the average Joe.

More to come.


Another interesting tidbit--in 2000, he released 1500 pages of information going back to his release from the Hanoi Hilton. This year, he released almost 1200 more pages. How the heck does this guy collect so much data in 8 years? The press said 1500 in 2000 was a bit excessive, but given his history as a POW, I can completely understand why there might be more than the average candidate. But 1200 pages in 8 years? It seems like a lot. Whether there is actually that much (which would concern me) or it's bulky to bury something important (which would concern me), I think I'd just feel better if he let investigative reporters do their job, spend one day answering questions, and move on.

Then again, with the clock ticking down, I'm sure John feels there are better ways to spend a day. He should have done this when Obama was still battling Hillary.


J. J. said...

That is not true of the prognosis for melanoma, once it is greater than 1 mm in depth. The chance that it has already spread is great, it just may not have affected a vital organ yet. There is absolutely no way to predict the chances that it will recur. So, the fact that McCain has survived this long is very surprising. He has also had a recurrence since the thick melanoma (2000) with another lesion on his nose in 2002. There is no way for the pathologists to know if this was a metastasis from the thick lesion on his temple or another new lesion. Whichever, it means that his immune system is not fighting off melanoma cells. The information you quoted from Salon is not accurate. McCain has a very high chance of having this melanoma metastasize. Again, there are no real screening tests to identify the mets until they damage a vital organ. Once the melanoma has metastasized, there is hardly any chance of treatment or survival.
I have been a health care provider in Dermatology for 9 years and I have also discussed this with a dermatopathologist. We examined the reports that the reviewers made of the brief look at McCain's med records. Of interest (and this was not widely reported) it was noted that the pathology reports of the 2.2 mm melanoma in 2000 showed a possible metastasis just adjacent to the primary lesion. This could not be ruled out. The initial press and reports of the melanoma in 2000 and again during this election cycle were the most hopeful, optimistic spin on the stage and severity of the melanoma. I hope that the more realistic prognosis is made known to the general public because of the dire consequences to McCain and this country if or when it recurs.

Ben said...

Very interesting indeed, J.J. I wish I had some way to contact you to discuss it further.

I'll look into the things you mentioned--I'm not sure if I can make much noise about it if they are true--I'm friends with a couple big-wig bloggers, but as you can see, I don't generate a lot of traffic here. Anything I find I will pass on to them though.

Ellie said...

I also heard that Biden has suffered two brain anyrisms (sp)

Doesn't that worry you?

So say Obama kicks it, then Biden...
Pelosi is the next pres.

i shudder at the thought. That woman seems the type to me to hire a hitman or something...she is scary

Ellie said...

I also heard that Obama smokes.


Ben said...

1) Biden is running for VP, not President. Odds of Barack Obama dying in the next 8 years are significantly (and I mean dramatically) lower than the odds of John McCain. And for the record, Pelosi scares me a lot (and I mean dramatically) less than Palin. Palin gives me the willies.

2)So did I, until 2 months ago. Yay me. As for Obama, it seems like I heard he quit as well, but it's still apples and oranges (unless he has undiagnosed or unreported lung cancer/emphasema).

My brother put it best though:

"in all fairness, obama could have terminal cancer at this point, and still get my vote (especially since biden was my guy since last november). but i would be pissed off if he hid it from us until november 5th."