Doctors removed two small "benign-appearing polyps" from President Reagan's colon yesterday during an examination at the White House, according to Col. John E. Hutton, the president's physician.
The polyps will be tested routinely to determine whether they are cancerous, but experts said it is very unlikely that such small polyps would be malignant. The results are expected Monday.
The president "continues to be in excellent health," a statement issued by the White House for Hutton said.
Reagan left his basement office unescorted after the exam and joked, "It's a hell of a way to start a weekend," according to chief of staff Howard H. Baker Jr.
The president also received a routine prostate exam yesterday as a follow-up to his prostate operation in January. The statement said his prostate was "found to be entirely normal."
Reagan had two feet of his colon removed along with a cancerous growth in July 1985. Four benign polyps were removed from his colon during a routine follow-up exam in January.
Polyps in the colon tend to grow slowly but do develop into cancer if left for a long time, said Dr. Martin Collen, director of research in the division of gastroenterology at Georgetown University. He said the practice in cases such as Reagan's is to remove small polyps as they appear so they do not have a chance to become cancerous.
Three Mayo Clinic physicians aided Hutton yesterday.