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Reagan's Colon Polyps Called Non-Cancerous

June 22, 1986|DON IRWIN | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The two small polyps removed Friday from President Reagan's colon are non-cancerous, the White House reported Saturday.

Word of the laboratory study, which included a biopsy, was promptly relayed to Reagan as he relaxed in perfect June weather at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains. The 75-year-old President and Mrs. Reagan flew there by helicopter Friday afternoon following completion of the minor surgery during a five-hour physical examination at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

The good news about the polyps, fleshy growths measuring 1 to 1.5 millimeters in size, was reported by White House physician T. Burton Smith in a written statement that said:

"The final laboratory evaluation of the two intestinal polyps removed during the President's routine follow-up examination yesterday has been completed and both are benign. The President was informed of the results by his physician at Camp David this morning."

Smith described Friday's checkup as "a routine postoperative examination" in a semiannual series of follow-ups to the operation last July 13 in which surgeons removed nearly two feet of the President's lower intestine that adjoined a malignant tumor. In a run of tests last January, physicians found and removed three small non-malignant polyps.

The follow-ups, as outlined Friday by Smith, included colonoscopy, a procedure involving inspection of the large intestine through a lighted tube. The examinations also involved blood tests, X-rays, computerized "CAT" scans, eye tests, and dermatological study of the President's nose, from which two small skin cancers were removed last August.

Smith reported Friday that the results of these tests were normal and "the President is in good health," adding that "his next examination will be in six months."

Reagan declared as he left the hospital en route to Camp David that he felt "A-OK."

Routinely Removed

Although intestinal polyps as small as those removed in Friday's procedure are seldom cancerous when first observed, surgeons routinely remove them because some tend to grow into cancers with time.

Doctors said after the colon operation that they believed all malignant tissues had been removed in time to forestall the spread of cancer to other areas of the President's body.

There was no indication from the White House that Friday's surgery will alter the President's plans to leave Tuesday for a five-day rest at his ranch near Santa Barbara. En route west, he is scheduled to stop in Las Vegas to attend a fund-raising dinner for former Rep. James Santini, the GOP candidate to succeed Reagan's old friend, retiring Sen. Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.).

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