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Doctors declare McCain in good health

WASHINGTON – Doctors for John McCain gave the 71-year-old likely GOP presidential nominee a clean bill of health Friday, but refused to discuss the various medical issues he can be expected to face over the next four years.

McCain’s most apparent health risk is skin cancer, his doctors indicated as they discussed the removal of his four malignant melanomas and other less serious skin cancers. The most serious was an “invasive” melanoma on his lower left temple that required extensive surgery in August 2000.

But the doctors, in a conference call with reporters arranged by McCain’s campaign, said they found no recurrence of that melanoma since then.

That fact, his dermatologist Dr. Suzanne Connolly said, makes his prognosis look good, though he remains at risk and must protect himself from sun.

McCain’s father died at age 70 of a stroke and McCain smoked for two decades, but doctors said they found no heart disease, and noted that McCain walked the Grand Canyon rim to rim in 2006.

“Senator McCain enjoys excellent health and displays extraordinary energy,” said Dr. John Eckstein, an internist and McCain’s personal physician.

“While it is impossible to predict any person’s future health,” Eckstein added, “today I can find no medical reason or problems that would preclude Senator McCain from fulfilling all the duties and obligations of president of the United States.”

Concerned about voter reaction to McCain’s age – he would be at age 72 the oldest to become president if elected – his campaign showed 1,173 pages of medical records to a small group of reporters and released a five-page summary.

Polls find two-thirds or more voters say they are not concerned about McCain’s age. But recent Quinnipiac polls of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania found voters more concerned about his age than the gender or race of his Democratic foes.

Neither of them – Hillary Rodham Clinton, 60, or Barack Obama, 46 – have opened their medical records for scrutiny.

The summary of McCain’s health over the past eight years includes a variety of ailments.

McCain had dizziness diagnosed as vertigo, high cholesterol, blood in his urine from an enlarged prostate, kidney stones and bladder stones, and polyps in his colon, the summary said. Doctors removed tissue from his prostate and fragmented the bladder stones with a laser, allowing normal urination, and clipped the polyps in a routine colonoscopy.

McCain also suffers from degenerative arthritis in his joints from broken arms, legs and shoulders suffered when his plane crashed in Vietnam and from beatings as a POW there. He takes medication to reduce cholesterol and to prevent kidney stones, a daily aspirin for blood clot prevention and a vitamin.