10/27/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Friday's Debate: Ask McCain to Release his Medical Records

53,491: People who have signed Brave New Films' open letter calling for a full, public disclosure of McCain's health records.

2,515: Doctors who signed the open letter urging McCain to release his records.

1,173: Pages in McCain's medical records dumped on the media in a publicity stunt last May.

20:. Journalists allowed to review his records for the 2008 election.

3: Hours those journalists were permitted to review them.

0: The number of tape recorders, cell phones, cameras or photocopying machines allowed in the room.

How many of you will write in urging PBS' Jim Lehrer to ask McCain about his health records during Friday's debate?

This debate will deal with foreign policy, and McCain's health issues constitute a national security issue, especially when you consider how his secrecy about medical records echoes the Bush administration's legacy of lies. Will McCain's health limit his capacity to make tough decisions regarding diplomacy and military action? We don't know, because McCain is keeping his medical records a tightly held secret, made available to just a handful of journalists for three hours under close supervision.

Send a quick e-mail to Jim Lehrer, moderator of Friday's debate, with the subject line: "Ask McCain to Disclose His Health Records in Full." Then, donate to Brave New PAC today so we can get this ad on the air. We have the right to have an open discussion about this grave issue, and now we have the chance to bring transparency and accountability to politics.

For more info and inspiration and what to write in the body of your e-mail to Jim Lehrer, read the testimonies from some of our doctors below.

Recurrences of malignant melanoma, a savage tumor that can and does reappear after periods of hope-filled absence, are too common and serious to be cloaked for political purposes. - Theodore M. Cole, MD 

It is standard practice for the people of the United States to be kept informed of the President's state of health. It is even more important that we citizens be made fully aware of the health and health risks of our potential Presidents. John McCain has had more than one melanoma, a particularly lethal cancer. That statement that his cancer is "in remission" does not equate with cure. Melanoma can be undetectable and "in remission" for a dozen years and then recur. - Nancy V. Bruckner, MD

It is inconceivable that America would vote on who will be their next president without complete disclosure of every detail of the health care that each candidate has undergone. With one of the candidates having had a very serious form of cancer and being 72 years of age, the American people need to be reassured that their decisions at the poll are being made with all available information. - David R. Meldrum, MD

Transparency as far as medical history is concerned is essential for those running for public office. The public deserves that. It is a prerequisite for being in office. - Robert Buxbaum, MD

I have to release my medical records to get insurance, to get hospital privileges and for things of far lesser import than seeking the presidency of this country. Unless Mr. McCain has something to hide, he should release his records. If he refuses to release the records, then the assumption must be that he is, indeed, hiding something. - Gerald F. Cambria, MD

I am a registered Republican. As a dermatologist with over 20 years of experience, I would have to believe that there is a very significant probability that McCain will die of his melanoma, probably within the next few years. As I understand it, his first episode was in 1992, and he has had a total of 4 melanomas, one of which was deep enough to require a lymph node dissection. My experience has been that patients whose immune system clearly does not fight off melanoma (I've never had any patient who had more than 2 once we began observing them closely with consistent skin checks, as I know McCain gets), and eventually die of their melanoma, especially when it has been on the head or neck. Everything may seem to be fine for 5-10 years, then all of a sudden all the micrometastases reach critical mass, and there are lesions in the brain, bone and lungs - and the person is dead within three months. - Laura E. Skellchock, MD