President Reagan was back at work yesterday, judged by his physicians to be recovering well from surgery for skin cancer and looking ahead to his long-awaited response to the Iran-contra hearings.
Following a quiet weekend at the White House, Reagan touted economic development in Latin America and held a weekly luncheon meeting with his staff. Spokesman Marlin Fitzwater reported the president to be "feeling fine."
Sporting a bandage on his nose, where a small basal cell carcinoma was removed, and some redness under his eyes, Reagan joked about his condition at an appearance before a group of business executives, diplomats and others concerned with Latin American development.
"I know you're all admiring my suntan," he said. "You, too, can look like this -- just sit out in the sun as long as I did."
Fitzwater said Reagan was examined Sunday by White House physician Col. John E. Hutton Jr. and Drs. Theodore Parlette and Michael Vincent. "They're satisfied with the progress of recovery" from the minor surgery performed Friday afternoon, Fitzwater said.
"The president has some discoloration under his eyes as expected from this type of operation," Fitzwater said. "His schedule for the week is unaffected."
The procedure removed Reagan's third skin cancer in two years -- the result, he said, of years of exposure to the sun -- and the surgery marked the first time he was treated for the condition in a hospital. The 20 sutures used to close the half-inch wound are to be removed this week.