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Outlook Good for O'Neill in Cancer Surgery

November 17, 1987|Associated Press

BOSTON — Former House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. will undergo surgery for rectal cancer on Wednesday, and his outlook is "very favorable," his doctor said Monday.

Dr. Richard E. Wilson, chief of surgical oncology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said a "polyp-like" cancer was found on the lower six inches of O'Neill's bowel.

Wilson said he does not know how much bowel will have to be removed or how far the cancer has spread.

However, he said, tests suggest the possibility of a full recovery.

"It looks very favorable at this point," Wilson said.

He said it was possible that O'Neill, 74, would have to undergo chemotherapy but a final decision will be made after surgery.

He estimated that O'Neill has had the cancer for two months.

O'Neill, for a decade one of the nation's most powerful politicians, sought treatment after episodes of bleeding, a common symptom of rectal cancer, the physician said.

The initial diagnosis of cancer was made last week by doctors at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington. Wilson said it was confirmed Monday.

O'Neill appeared strong and lucid and "he is in excellent spirits," Wilson said.

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