BOSTON, NOV. 15 -- Former House speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. left a Washington hospital today and was admitted to a Boston hospital for rectal surgery, hospital officials said.

O'Neill is scheduled to undergo the surgery in several days after a series of tests, said Kathleen O'Donnell, a spokewoman for Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. It is premature to say whe- ther the surgery is for cancer, she said.

Doctors examining O'Neill declined to comment on the tests or O'Neill's condition, but a statement may be released Monday, she said.

The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald reported Saturday that O'Neill has cancer of the colon, or large intestine. The Globe, quoting an unidentified source close to the family, said the former speaker would undergo a biopsy this week that would determine whether a section of his bowel should be surgically removed or treated with radiation.

One of O'Neill's sons declined comment on the published reports.

"He's in good spirits. He's feeling fine. He's walking around," Christopher R. (Kip) O'Neill, a Washington attorney, said Saturday.

But he referred to statements by his brother, Thomas P. O'Neill III, who said Friday that news reports that his father had cancer were not correct.

O'Donnell said O'Neill appeared strong and healthy when he entered the hospital.

"He was in good spirits and is resting comfortably," the spokeswoman said.

O'Neill, 74, lives on Cape Cod, Mass., with his wife, Millie. He has kept an office in Boston and a home in Washington since retiring in January after 35 years in Congress, the last 10 as speaker.