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Former Speaker Ready to Leave Intensive Care Unit

November 21, 1987

BOSTON (AP) _ Former House Speaker Thomas P. ″Tip″ O’Neill Jr. should be able to get out of bed this weekend for the first time since undergoing surgery for bowel cancer Wednesday, says a hospital spokeswoman.

O’Neill, 74, was to be moved from Brigham and Women’s Hospital intensive care unit to a private room today, said Nicole Gakidis. She said she did not know how long he will be hospitalized.

″His condition is good,″ another hospital spokesman said Friday night.

O’Neill’s doctor, Dr. Richard E. Wilson, said earlier in the day that tests on the recently retired lawmaker indicated the 6 1/2 -hour operation was successful in removing all cancer and that no further treatment will be necessary.

Doctors removed a golfball-sized tumor from O’Neill’s rectum and performed a permanent colostomy, which provides an artificial route for defecation.

″He’s recovering quite normally,″ said Wilson, chief of surgical oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The tumor did not involve the lymph nodes or extend through the full thickness of the rectal muscle, said Wilson, who performed the surgery.

″Therefore, no consideration will be necessary for chemotherapy or radiation therapy,″ Wilson said after reviewing results of pathology tests. He said O’Neill’s prognosis is excellent.

O’Neill will be on a liquid diet until early next week, Wilson said.

He said O’Neill would need surgery for a non-cancerous prostate problem either late next week or around Dec. 1.

Following the bowel surgery, doctors said O’Neill had had the cancer for about two months. It was detected after he sought treatment following episodes of bleeding, a common symptom of rectal cancer.

O’Neill entered the Boston hospital after having a biopsy and other tests at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington.

Since retiring from Congress in January, O’Neill has spent much of his time traveling to promote his book, ″Man of the House.″

He spent 34 years in Congress representing Massachusetts’ 8th Congressional District. His final 10 years were spent as speaker, the longest consecutive term at the post.

O’Neill now lives with his wife on Cape Cod.

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