- The Washington Times - Monday, April 30, 2007

White House spokesman Tony Snow yesterday made an emotional return to work, just five weeks after leaving his post for surgery that revealed a return of his colon cancer.

“I’m a very lucky guy,” said Mr. Snow, who had to pause for several seconds to compose himself in his first briefing to the White House press corps since March 23.

Mr. Snow, 51, said he will begin four months of biweekly chemotherapy on Friday to treat “some small cancers in the peritoneum,” which is the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity. But he credited world-class medical care and the thoughts and prayers of friends and strangers for giving him hope.

“I have been blessed to be treated by … some of the finest doctors in the world,” said Mr. Snow, who is a husband and father of three children. “In an age like ours, things are happening very rapidly in the medical realm. I’m taking a cancer cocktail this time around, a chemo cocktail that’s going to contain two agents that were not in broad use two years ago.”

“The design is to throw it into remission and transform it into a chronic disease. If cancer is merely a nuisance for a long period of time, that’s fine with me,” Mr. Snow said.

He also added: “Anybody who does not believe that thoughts and prayers make a difference, they’re just wrong.”

Mr. Snow first underwent surgery for colon cancer in 2005, when he was a radio talk-show host on Fox News Radio. Doctors removed portions of his colon, and Mr. Snow returned to work while still undergoing chemotherapy.

Then, after a series of tests last fall showed a small growth in his abdomen, Mr. Snow underwent surgery on March 26 that showed his cancer had returned and had spread to his liver.

Deputy White House spokeswoman Dana Perino filled in for Mr. Snow in his absence, which was expected by many to last longer than just a month.

Mr. Snow’s warm welcome lasted only a few minutes, however, as he was immediately hit with questions about the current debate over whether the U.S. is winning or losing the war in Iraq, about a D.C. sex scandal that has already brought down a deputy secretary of state, and about criticisms of the administration by former CIA Director George J. Tenet.

But Mr. Snow also showed he was still in zinger mode, teasing a reporter for asking a “follow-up on the question I didn’t answer.”

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