Doctors discovered and removed two more small polyps from President Reagan's large intestine yesterday during an examination at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, and the White House said the growths would be submitted for laboratory tests.
The president also underwent blood tests, X-rays, CAT scans, an eye checkup and an examination of his nose, the site of skin cancer last year. A statement by White House physician T. Burton Smith said results of these tests were normal.
The polyps, measuring 1 to 1 1/2 millimeters in size, were found during a colonoscopy, a procedure in which doctors examine the inside of the large intestine through a special scope. According to medical experts, growths this small are unlikely to be cancerous. (There are 25.4 millimeters in an inch.)
Doctors performed the colonoscopy as a routine followup to Reagan's surgery for intestinal cancer last July. Three benign polyps similar in size were removed during a colonoscopy in January.
The finding of additional polyps this time is "not unexpected," according to Dr. Donald A. O'Kieffe, a gastroenterologist and associate clinical professor at George Washington University Medical School. "He had the proclivity to develop small polyps, and these are undoubtedly benign at that size."
O'Kieffe added that periodic removal of such growths as they appear "is going to prevent any problems in terms of cancer of the colon."
He said the colonoscopy, during which doctors view the entire length of the large intestine, also allowed Reagan's physicians to check the area of the right side of his colon where a large malignant tumor was removed last July to make sure there was no sign of recurrent cancer. After the operation last year, doctors said Reagan should have the test every six months.
According to the White House statement, the medical team conducting the colonoscopy included Drs. Dale Oller and Edward Cattau, members of the team that examined Reagan at the naval hospital last year and performed his intestinal surgery.
Reagan left the hospital late yesterday afternoon with his wife, Nancy, after more than five hours of medical tests. Responding to reporters' questions, Nancy Reagan shouted, "Fine," and the president, his arm resting on his wife's, shouted, "A-Okay."
The Reagans and their dog, Rex, then flew by helicopter to Camp David. They plan to leave Tuesday for a six-day vacation at their California ranch before attending ceremonies in New York July 3 to rededicate the Statue of Liberty.
The medical statement said laboratory results on the polyps would probably be available today. It said the president's next examination will be in six months.