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McCain to allow peek at medical records

  • Story Highlights
  • Sen. John McCain will reveal his medical history to members of the media Friday
  • McCain had a malignant melanoma removed in 2000
  • At age 71, he is at risk for heart disease, diabetes and other conditions
  • Reporters will have only three hours with the records
  • Next Article in Health »
By Elizabeth Landau
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(CNN) -- Sen. John McCain will give select members of the media a three-hour glimpse at his medical records Friday.

Sen. John McCain will release his medical records to a select group of reporters on Friday.

If elected, McCain, the 71-year-old presumed Republican nominee, would be the oldest president of the United States, beating Ronald Reagan by three years on inauguration day.

Presidents and candidates have released records in the past, and some, like McCain, have stipulated that the records cannot leave the room.

McCain, a cancer survivor, is particularly under pressure to prove to the public that he is physically fit for office.

Democratic candidates Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton have not made their health records public, but whoever secures the nomination probably will, said David Mark, senior editor at Politico.

McCain has told reporters not to expect surprises, and that doctors told him everything is fine.

In 2000, the Arizona senator was diagnosed with invasive melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, on his left temple. He has a scar and swelling on his left cheek as a result of the operation to remove the cancer that year. In his life, McCain has had four melanomas.

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"My health is excellent. I see my dermatologist every three months," McCain said in April 2007.

Heart disease, the leading cause of death in America, could be a risk factor for McCain because of his age and family history, making his blood pressure and cholesterol levels relevant. His campaign said he takes baby aspirin to prevent heart attacks, as well as Vytorin to lower cholesterol.

His father, Adm. John S. McCain Jr., died of a heart attack at age 70.

For most of his adult life, McCain has lived with physical disabilities and trauma as a result of his experience as a Navy pilot in Vietnam. Both his arms and one of his legs were broken when a Vietnamese missile shot down his U.S. Navy A-4E Skyhawk over Hanoi in 1967.

Other injuries included a bayonet stabbing and kicking and punching from a mob that discovered him. As a prisoner of war for more than five years, he also endured torture.

Today, more than 30 years after being released from prison, McCain is not able to fully raise his arms. He sometimes experiences knee aches that result in a visible limp, Time Magazine reported.

McCain last revealed his medical records in 1999, making 1,500 pages of records available to reporters when he was competing with George W. Bush for the Republican nomination. The records spanned his time in the Navy to his failed bid for the White House.

The newer batch of records has strict security guidelines attached. Only certain news networks and newspapers will be permitted to enter the room, and they will have only three hours to examine the papers.

No cell phones or Internet access will be allowed in the room, located in a resort outside Phoenix, Arizona. Copying the records is also prohibited.

Anyone who leaves the room for any reason except the bathroom will not be allowed back.

McCain's campaign says the rules allow for a "thorough and substantive review" of McCain's medical history.

Although the document-viewing window closes after three hours, the campaign plans to post some details of McCain's medical history on the senator's Web site. This will include summaries from each of the doctors who have treated him.

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