Shaun McCann: Malignant Brain Tumor

When Shaun McCann was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a very aggressive malignant brain tumor, his doctor advised him to get his affairs in order.

Shawn McCann, malignant brain tumor patient and cancer survivor

When Shaun McCann was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a very aggressive malignant brain tumor, neurosurgeon Harish Rawal, MD, advised him to get his affairs in order. The average life expectancy with this type of cancer is 12 to 16 months.

“That was eight years ago, and here I am, cancer free,” Shaun said. “I owe my life to my main man, Dr. Rawal, and to the grace of God.”

The only symptoms Shaun had experienced were a persistent headache and a dull pain behind his left eye. “But I felt that something was really wrong, and an MRI confirmed it,” he said. Shaun’s type of brain tumor is very resistant to common cancer therapies and can’t be treated with drugs. It is particularly challenging because of its structure. “Dr Rawal explained to me that these tumors have ‘tentacles’ that spread quickly into other areas of the brain. He said removing it would be like trying to separate milk, water and sugar that had been blended together,” Shaun said.

Love for his wife, Jan, and their three children fuelled Shaun’s determination to survive. “My youngest was still in high school, and I knew I had to get him on a path for life,” he said. “I told Dr. Rawal I was going to be his biggest success story, and I was right.”

As Shaun came out of surgery, the first thing he saw was a beaming smile on Jan’s face. “That’s when she told me Dr. Rawal was able to remove the entire tumor,” he said.

Following his surgery, Shaun completed three months of radiation therapy at Allegiance Health and a year of oral chemotherapy. “I am fortunate to have all of my care right here in town,” he said. “The radiation therapists and everyone else who’s been a part of my treatment at Allegiance Health have been top-notch.”

Annual check-ups with Dr. Rawal continue to confirm that Shaun is cancer free. “Dr. Rawal has taken such good care of me over the years, I can’t find enough words to thank him. His staff has been phenomenal, too,” Shaun said.

“Dr. Rawal has taken such good care of me over the years, I can’t find enough words to thank him." Shawn McCann, malignant brain tumor patient

A proud cancer survivor, Shaun has walked with many of his care team members in Jackson’s annual Relay for Life event. His joyful spirit and positive attitude spill over into every aspect of his life. “There is not a room big enough to hold all my blessings.” Shaun said. “I enjoy my job and I love hanging out with my bride, our family and our good friends.”

Also keeping Shaun happy and active are his two beautiful grandsons, baby Cole and four-year-old Lincoln. “We love playing together, especially with our remote-control helicopter,” he said. “I never could have imagined how much fun grandkids can be.”

You can reduce your cancer risk by getting regular medical care, living smoke-free, limiting alcohol use, avoiding excessive exposure to UV rays from the sun and tanning beds, eating fruits and veggies, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active.