WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush will undergo what aides described as a routine colonoscopy on Saturday at the Camp David presidential retreat.
During the time Bush, 61, is under anesthesia, he would delegate power to Vice President Dick Cheney, White House spokesman Tony Snow said.
A colonoscopy allows doctors to look inside the large intestine for possible tumors. A small camera is threaded into the colon and usually is equipped to remove any suspicious-looking lesions on the spot.
Snow said the procedure will be a follow-up to a test Bush had in 2002. Bush had small growths called polyps removed prior to becoming president, although none was found in 2002.
Saturday’s procedure will be done by a team from the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, under the supervision of Bush’s physician, Dr. Richard Tubb, Snow said.
“Although no polyps were noted in the exam in 2002, age and history would suggest that there’s a reasonable chance that polyps will be noted this time,” Snow said. “If so, they’ll be removed and evaluated microscopically.”
While benign, polyps can develop into cancer over time if left untreated.
Regular colonoscopies are recommended for everyone over the age of 50. Snow, who is himself battling colon cancer, said Bush has not had any symptoms of that ailment.