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Burns undergoes colon surgery

Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) last week had surgery to remove a malignant polyps in his colon, a spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

Burns' physician, Bethesda Naval Hospital's Dr. John DeNobile, says the cancer was detected early and Burns will recover fully. Colon cancer runs in the Senator's family: his father died of the disease. As a result, 66-year-old Burns, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, makes sure to have annual exams.

"The sooner the doctors can identify potential problems, the better chance you have for complete recovery," Burns said in a statement. "In my case, there was no indication that may have had colon cancer. I would hope that people would follow my example and get themselves checked out regularly."

Several members of the Senate Commerce Committee have had bouts with cancer. Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) last summer was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma on his left temple and underwent surgery. In the past, the fair-skinned McCain has had other cancerous skin lesions removed.

And Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), expected to take over the committee when McCain's term expires in 2002 and currently chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, had prostrate cancer. - Paige Albiniak