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President to Have Routine Follow-up Exam of Colon

January 16, 1986|From a Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — President Reagan will enter Bethesda Naval Medical Center on Friday for a follow-up examination of the kind that discovered a cancerous tumor in his colon last year, the White House announced Wednesday.

Reagan will undergo a colonoscopy to see if there is any recurrence of the cancer and he might remain overnight at the hospital even if the test is negative, White House spokesman Larry Speakes said.

The White House stressed that the test is part of a routine six-month checkup and that it was not prompted by any medical symptoms. Reagan had surgery for colon cancer last July.

Intestinal Bleeding Possible

The length of Reagan's hospital stay will be determined at the time of the test, Speakes said. He pointed out that the instrument used in a colonoscopy can sometimes puncture the intestine and cause bleeding and that doctors "sometimes want to watch that overnight."

In addition to the colonoscopy, Reagan will be given blood tests and X-rays.

Speakes said he is uncertain about when the test results will be made public.

"When the doctors have them all and are prepared to give them, we'll give them to you," he told reporters. "That could be Friday, could be Saturday, could be Monday--could be the following week."

Right to Privacy

Although White House officials initially were praised for being forthcoming about the details of Reagan's illness, they have taken the position in recent months that a patient's right to privacy precludes full disclosure.

Speakes said specific data would not be released but said reporters would be told whether the colonoscopy indicated any evidence of cancer. "It either reveals something or doesn't reveal something," Speakes said of the exam. "It's yes or no, up or down."

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