President Reagan spent 32 minutes at Bethesda Naval Hospital yesterday in a routine post-operative visit. The White House announced that "the results of all tests were normal."
The checkup, which according to a statement included an external examination of the abdomen, an X-ray and blood tests, marked the second time since removal of his colon cancer July 13 that Reagan has been tested for a recurrence.
The White House said similar examinations will be performed every two months.
After the first checkup Sept. 20, the president told reporters as he left the hospital that he had made a "100 percent complete recovery."
Asked by reporters outside the hospital yesterday if that is still true, Reagan replied, "100 percent," and nodded vigorously.
The president and his wife, Nancy, flew by helicopter from the White House to the hospital, and he held her arm as he walked into the building. Their dog, Lucky, accompanied them on the trip but was kept outside.
After the checkup, Reagan flew to Camp David, Md., for the weekend.
White House spokesman Peter Roussel said in September that the president's regular medical tests include monthly blood tests and laboratory examinations of feces, with X-rays and cross-sectional X-rays less frequently.
Reagan is to undergo a colonoscopy, a visual examination of the large intestine using a flexible viewing tube, in December, five months after surgery.
Results of Reagan's first post-operative checkup in September were described as normal but never released in detail, in adherence with the policy of limiting news on the president's health that the White House has followed since Reagan left the hospital last summer.
In July, when Reagan's intestinal tumor was found to be malignant, surgeon Steven Rosenberg of the National Institutes of Health said in a briefing that chances were "greater than 50 percent" that the cancer would not recur.
The checkups are designed to ensure that, if cancer does recur, it will be discovered promptly.
Experts interviewed at the time of the president's surgery said the blood test checked most frequently in former colon cancer patients is for carcinoembryonic antigen or CEA, a protein whose presence in blood can signal possible liver cancer.