WASHINGTON – White House Press Secretary Tony Snow is once again stricken with cancer after doctors found a cancerous growth in his lower abdomen, the White House announced Tuesday.
Snow is expected to return to his job at the White House after treatment, spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.
"We’ll all look forward to the day when Tony can come back and take the podium again," Perino said.
The cancer, originally in his colon, has spread to his liver and elsewhere, Perino said. Snow spoke to President Bush Tuesday morning, who told Snow he and first lady Laura Bush are praying for him.
Bush struck an optimistic tone about Snow's mood, adding that he looked forward to the day when Snow returns to the White House.
"His attitude is one that he is not going to let this whip him," Bush said during a brief statement to reporters in the Rose Garden. "My attitude is that we need to pray for him."
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Snow is consulting with doctors about what type of treatment to pursue as he recovers in the hospital following the surgery. There were no complications with the surgery and it takes about a week to heal, Perino said.
After being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2005, a disease that killed his mother, Snow, 51, had his colon removed and his small intestine refashioned to function in its place. He then underwent six months of chemotherapy.
During regular tests last year, which include PET imaging scans, magnetic resonance imaging tests and CAT scans, a small growth was discovered in his lower right pelvic area. Blood tests and the PET scan had come back negative, but Snow and his doctors decided to have exploratory surgery, Snow said, "out of an aggressive sense of caution."
Doctors determined that the growth was cancerous, and that his cancer had metastasized, or spread, to his liver, Perino said.
"It is hard news for us," Perino who broke into tears during her announcement, said in briefing with White House reporters. "President and Mrs. Bush and the whole White House team has him in our prayers."
Snow will go after the cancer as aggressively as he can, and he's going to beat it again, Perino said, describing his attitude. She added that he also gave her some instructions to pass on to reporters: "Tell them not to bug me," and he thanked reporters and others for the well wishes.
"He said he's going to beat it again," Perino said. "When I talked to him, he was in very good spirits."
FOX News' Dr. Manny Alvarez said a lot of effective therapies are available to treat liver cancer that has spread from colon cancer.
“It’s small enough that he should go into remission again after adequate treatment,” said Alvarez, who is not Snow's doctor.
Sources said Snow was Bush's first choice for press secretary after Scott McClellan left. Snow took the job in May 2006 after he got the all-clear from his doctors before he took the job.
Snow and his wife, Jill, have three young children.
FOX News' Mike Emanuel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.