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Peterson, Latest Lawmaker to Undergo Surgery, Has Cancerous Tissue Removed

As two Senators returned to work this week after heart surgery, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) received test results showing tissue recently removed from his colon was cancerous.

A pathology report following last week’s surgery showed cancer in Peterson’s colon. However, the affected tissue was removed in full, Peterson’s top aide told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The aide said doctors were confident they removed all of the cancerous tissue, adding that Peterson left the hospital a day and a half earlier than expected and is to return to the office next week.

The news comes as several Senators continue to recover from major surgeries earlier this year.

Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who returned to his office Wednesday after open-heart surgery, is doing very well and wanted to get back to the office quickly to start on paperwork and returning phone calls, a spokeswoman said. Graham also filed papers Thursday to officially launch his bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

Graham underwent surgery Jan. 31 and was released from the hospital Feb. 14. His surgeon released a statement last week saying the Senator is “rapidly progressing” from his operation.

Also recovering from heart surgery is Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who underwent an operation Feb. 3. The Senator returned to the Hill on Monday after two weeks of recovering at his D.C. home. He said he will work on a part-time basis.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is “doing great” after his Feb. 12 prostate surgery, necessitated by a diagnosis of cancer. He now has a clean bill of health from the doctor and needs no further treatment, a Kerry spokesman said.

Kerry, who has already announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and is considered the frontrunner in many circles, is on the road this week, traveling to California and Idaho.

“I feel great, but I’m not going to talk about my surgery,” Kerry said. “Given what the Bush administration is doing, the last thing Democrats need to hear about are more painful cuts.”

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) had a minor operation to alleviate pressure on his skull due to a skiing accident he suffered over the winter holidays. Everything has been back to normal for the Senator since he returned to work Jan. 27, according to a spokesman.

And if trekking the streets through slush and snow banks isn’t hard enough, try doing it with a walking cane.

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), who suffers from bursitis in his hip, is now walking with the aid of a cane. The condition is an inflammation of the bursa, which decrease friction between two surfaces in the body. The Senator uses the cane only when there is a great deal of pain, a spokesman said.

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