Despite cancer, he's back at work

The White House press secretary will begin chemo again.

Published May 1, 2007

WASHINGTON - Coping with cancer, White House press secretary Tony Snow returned to work Monday and declared himself "unbelievably lucky and unbelievably blessed" as he prepares to undergo chemotherapy.

"Anybody who does not believe that thoughts and prayers make a difference - they're just wrong, " Snow said from behind the lectern during the regular morning briefing.

Snow, 51, returned to work five weeks after doctors discovered a recurrence of his cancer. He briefly became overcome with emotion after reporters welcomed him with applause.

"Thank you so much, " Snow said. "It's great to be back."

Snow had his colon removed in 2005 and underwent six months of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with colon cancer. On March 26, he underwent surgery to remove a growth in his abdominal area, and doctors determined that cancer had metastasized, or spread, to the liver.

"Now I know the first reaction of people when they hear the word cancer is, 'Uh-oh, ' but we live in kind of a different medical situation than we used to, " said Snow said, who became White House press secretary in April 2006.

He will start chemotherapy Friday, using agents that he said weren't widely available during his last bout with cancer. Snow plans to go through treatments every other week for four months.

It is common for colon cancer patients to suffer a recurrence of cancer. Medical experts say advances in chemotherapy can allow people with the type of cancer Snow has to return to work and good health for years.