Neurosurgeon: McCain among many patients who halt treatment

PHOENIX (AP) - The head of a neurological hospital in Phoenix says Sen. John McCain is among many brain cancer patients who eventually decide to discontinue medical treatment.

Dr. Michael Lawton, a neurosurgeon and Barrow Neurological Institute president and CEO, said a diminished quality of life, such as inability to speak or get out of bed, takes a toll and prompts patients to decide to halt treatment.

Lawton said Friday during an interview with The Associated Press that standard initial treatments of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy can rein in the tumor for a while, providing a good quality of life.

However, he said the tumor typically "rears its head again," leading many patients to try experimental treatments with painful and debilitating side effects.

Lawton and Barrow were not involved in McCain's treatment.