Massachusetts Senator Edward ‘Ted’ Kennedy has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour, according to a statement released by his doctors yesterday.
Kennedy was admitted to the hospital over the weekend after suffering a seizure.
Doctors said preliminary results from a brain biopsy show the senator has a “malignant glioma in the left parietal lobe.”
Although this type of brain cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, the long-term survival rate is not favourable.
Senator Kennedy was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital over the weekend after suffering a seizure at the Kennedy clan’s compound in Hyannisport.
The 76-year-old Democratic leader experienced a second seizure en route to the hospital via helicopter.
Doctors at the hospital stated Kennedy was “not in any immediate danger” when he arrived.
On Tuesday, Dr. Lee Schwamm, vice chairman of neurology and Dr. Larry Ronan, primary care physician at Massachusetts General, made the announcement that Kennedy had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour.
“Preliminary results form a biopsy of the brain identified the cause of the seizure as a malignant glioma in the left parietal lobe,” the doctors said in a statement to the press.
This type of brain cancer can be treated with surgery to remove the tumour, radiation and chemotherapy, according to ABC News.
However, the long-term survival rate for this type of tumour is not favourable.
According to the National Cancer Institute, those with moderate to severe tumours typically only live three to five years.
For those with the most aggressive form of the cancer, the survival rate can be less than a year.
Kennedy is expected to remain in the hospital for several days to undergo more testing to determine the stage of his brain cancer and formulate treatment plans, according to the statement from his doctors.
According to the hospital, Kennedy “remains in good spirits and full of energy” and has not suffered any further seizures since being admitted.
He “remains in good overall condition, and is up and walking around the hospital,” his doctors said.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama said the news of Kennedy’s diagnosis was “heartbreaking,” according to ABC News.
Kennedy endorsed Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination on January 28.
“Ted Kennedy is not only a giant of the Senate but he’s a good friend. You couldn’t have a better supporter than Ted Kennedy. And I had spoken to him just a couple of days ago right after the seizure… Obviously the news came in today and it’s a lot worse, but he’s a fighter… I hope he will be OK and I will do everything I can to make sure his family has support at this difficult time.”
Senator Hillary Clinton issued a statement calling Kennedy “one of the greatest legislators in Senate history” and expressing her hope for a speedy recovery for the Massachusetts Senator.
“Ted Kennedy’s courage and resolve are unmatched, and they have made him one of the greatest legislators in Senate history. Our thoughts are with him and [his wife] Vicki and we are praying for a quick and full recovery.”
President George W. Bush issued a statement on Monday saying: “Ted Kennedy is a man of tremendous courage, remarkable strength, and powerful spirit.
“Our thoughts are with Senator Kennedy and his family during this difficult period. We join our fellow Americans in praying for his full recovery.”
Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee John McCain also released a statement on Monday praising Senator Kennedy.
“I have described Ted Kennedy as the last lion in the Senate. And I have held that view because he remains the single most effective member of the Senate.”
McCain said his “thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to him. We hope and pray that they will be able to treat it and that he will experience a fully recovery.”
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