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McCain's Skin Cancer Gets Americans to Ask About Their Own Skin

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Because of his history with the disease, friends say McCain has been checking with his doctors about every three months. That way, if melanoma is discovered, chances are better that it is still on the surface of the skin and hasn't spread.

"That's probably the best way to do it," Bujanauskas says.

But Jaliman notes most of her melanoma discoveries happen when the patient is in for something else and she says she wants to check for moles. Women know to go for a Pap smear or a mammogram, she says, but most of her patients don't come in to see a dermatologist for a mole check regularly.

She adds it's important to realize 1 in 74 Americans develop melanoma sometime during their life and that successful treatment usually depends on being able to catch them before they can sink into the skin and spread. Once that happens, there are experimental treatments available, she says, but the chance of cure is low.

McCain is planning a news conference Friday to talk about his condition, advisers said. He has canceled about a dozen scheduled campaign events with GOP candidates but planned to go ahead with a Thursday evening fund-raiser for Arizona state Senate candidate Debra Raeder.

During the nearly four hours he spent at the clinic Thursday, McCain underwent blood work, a chest X-ray, an MRI exam, a CT scan, an electrocardiogram, or ECG, and an ultrasound of his heart known as an echocardiogram, his Washington office said.

The first four tests help determine whether the cancer has spread, such as to his lungs or liver. The final two indicate if McCain's heart is healthy.

McCain is scheduled to see his doctors again Friday for the test results and discuss treatment options. He said Thursday he was feeling fine and did not answer any questions.

 

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