Sen. Jeff Flake on how he learned of John McCain’s cancer diagnosis

Posted on: July 20th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The Republican junior senator who serves with Sen. John McCain representing Arizona described how he learned of his elder colleague’s brain cancer diagnosis through a casual comment in a conversation Wednesday.

“I called him before we heard of the diagnosis and spoke to him for several minutes about what was going on on Capitol Hill and what he was missing,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said in an interview Thursday with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America.

“And only at the end of the conversation, I asked him how he was feeling today, and he said, ‘I’m feeling fine but I might have some chemotherapy in my future,'” Flake said. “And that’s how I learned of it. So it was almost in passing about his diagnosis.”

Flake added, “He’s optimistic, obviously. He’s John McCain; that’s what we expect.”

Wednesday night, the Mayo Clinic and the Arizona Republican’s office officially announced McCain’s diagnosis, a primary brain tumor of a type called glioblastoma which was related to a blood clot above the senior senator’s eye that he had removed last week.

“On Friday, July 14, Sen. John McCain underwent a procedure to remove a blood clot from above his left eye at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix,” reads a statement from the clinic, released at the request of McCain. “Subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot.”

The statement continues, “The Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.”

McCain’s doctors say he is recovering from surgery “amazingly well” and “his underlying health is excellent,” according to the statement.

Flake, who began his career in Congress as an intern decades ago, said it’s unclear when and if McCain will return to Capitol Hill. Flake said he can’t imagine a Senate without him.

“He is a steady force; one who stands for the institution and bipartisanship, and I cannot overstate what an impact he has in the Senate,” Flake said on GMA Thursday. “We need him back here and he wants to be back here.”

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