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March 27, 2007

Tests show White House spokesman Tony Snow suffering from recurrence of cancer

WASHINGTON — The colon cancer that Tony Snow successfully battled two years ago has returned and spread to the U.S. presidential spokesman's liver, the White House said Tuesday.

President George W. Bush, making a brief statement to reporters, struck an optimistic tone that echoed how aides said Snow was feeling. The president spoke with Snow early Tuesday, and said he looks forward to the day that his spokesman "comes back to the White House and briefs the press corps on the decisions that I'm making."

"His attitude is, one, that he is not going to let this whip him, and he's upbeat. My attitude is that we need to pray for him, and for his family," Bush said. "And so my message to Tony is, 'Stay strong; a lot of people love you and care for you and will pray for you.' "

Snow, 51, had his entire colon removed in 2005 and underwent six months of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with colon cancer. A small growth was discovered last year in his lower right pelvic area and, after months of monitoring, tests showed that it had grown slightly. It was removed Monday.

Doctors determined the growth was cancerous, and also found during the surgery that his cancer had metastasized, or spread, to his liver, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

She said Snow is comfortable and feeling fine after his surgery and has pledged to aggressively fight the disease with an as-yet-to-be-determined chemotherapy treatment course. He will be in the hospital recovering from the surgery, a major procedure, for about a week.

"He said he's going to beat it again," Perino said in an emotional briefing with White House reporters. "When I talked to him, he was in very good spirits."

Blood tests and an imaging scan had come back negative for cancer before the surgery. Snow announced Friday that he had opted to have the growth removed "out an aggressive sense of caution.

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