Tony Snow's Cancer Returns
White House Spokesman, 51, Has Surgery for Colon Cancer Recurrence
March 28, 2007 -- White House spokesman Tony Snow is facing a recurrence of
Snow, 51, had surgery on Monday to remove a growth in his abdomen. Lab tests
show that the growth is cancerous and that the cancer had spread. Doctors have
found cancer in his liver.
"It's a recurrence of the cancer that he thought that he had
successfully dealt with in the past," President George W. Bush says in a
statement issued yesterday. "His attitude is, one, that he is not going to
let this whip him, and he's upbeat," Bush says.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said yesterday that Snow and his doctors
found the growth -- which was about the size of the tip of a pinky finger -- in
a recent series of CAT scans, PET scans, and MRIs.
Before the surgery, Snow had been getting checkups every three to four
months and said he felt fine, Perino told reporters.
Colon Cancer Recurrence
The growth was located in the same spot in the abdomen as Snow's previous
cancer, Perino said. Snow had his colon removed and underwent six months of
chemotherapy in 2005 to treat the colon cancer.
Snow, whose mother died of colon cancer, had just reached the two-year mark
of supposedly being cancer free, Perino said.
Perino said she did not know where Snow's new cancer had spread, apart from
"He's a fighter," Perino said of Snow. "He plans to take this on
with the advice of his doctors. They are in consultation right now, talking
about an aggressive treatment to go after the cancer."
That treatment "will likely include chemotherapy but could include other
things, as well," Perino said.
American Cancer Society's Comments
The American Cancer Society issued a statement from its chief medical
officer, Harmon Frye, MD.
"The news that Tony Snow has suffered a recurrence of colon cancer,
coming on the heels of Elizabeth Edwards' announcement last week that her
breast cancer has returned, points to why recurrence is such a worrisome issue
for cancer patients," Frye says.
"As with breast cancer, recurrence of colon cancer can be serious,
particularly when that recurrence occurs in another organ. Still, when the
disease recurs, cures can be achieved. This involves surgery combined with
"In the last 10 to 15 years, major advances in chemotherapy have
broadened the options available to patients. We've gone from having only one or
two drugs with survival in patients with metastatic disease measured in months,
to having seven to eight very good drugs available, with survival often
measured in years, and some patients live many years after having recurrent
disease," Frye says.
"This change is an example of cancer becoming a 'chronic disease' that
people can live with in addition to those patients whose disease is cured with
initial treatment. But these advances should not distract from the fact that
cancer recurrence is a serious situation," Frye says.
"Finally, colon cancer remains the third leading cause of cancer deaths
in both men and women, and the best defense is early detection. Every American
should be tested for colon cancer beginning at age 50," says Frye.