From Our 2008 Archives

Tony Snow Dies of Colon Cancer

Snow, 53, Died After Fighting Colon Cancer Since 2005

By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Michael W. Smith, MD

July 12, 2008 — Tony Snow, former White House press secretary and political commentator, died Saturday of colon cancer.

Snow, who was 53 years old, had been undergoing chemotherapy to treat a recurrence of his colon cancer, according to CNN, where Snow most recently worked. Snow died at 2 a.m. Saturday morning at Georgetown University Hospital, according to Fox News, where Snow had worked before serving as White House press secretary.

President Bush issued a statement saying he was "deeply saddened" by Snow's death, calling Snow's battle against cancer a "brave struggle."

Snow was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2005. He had his colon removed and underwent six months of chemotherapy for treatment. Snow's colon cancer recurred in March 2007, in the same spot in the abdomen where it had first been found. The cancer had also spread to his liver.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among U.S. men and women, not counting skin cancers. The American Cancer Society predicts that this year, there will more than 148,000 new cases of colorectal cancer and nearly 50,000 deaths from colorectal cancer.

Health officials recommend that all adults begin routine screening for colorectal cancer at age 50, or earlier if they are at high risk.

Snow had a family history of the disease. His mother died of colon cancer when he was 17.

Having a family history of colon cancer increases the likelihood of getting colon cancer. This is especially true if the family member got colon cancer before age 60, according to the American Cancer Society. People with a family history may need to begin colon cancer screening prior to age 50.

Snow is survived by his wife, Jill Walker, and three children — Kendall, Robbie, and Kristi.

SOURCES: Press release, White House. CNN. Fox News. WebMD Health News: "Tony Snow's Cancer Returns." American Cancer Society: "How Many People Get Colorectal Cancer?"

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