U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy underwent three hours of brain surgery Monday. Doctors says the delicate procedure to remove a malignant tumor was a success. VOA's Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Less than two weeks after a devastating diagnosis of an aggressive form of brain cancer, the Massachusetts senator was operated on by a team of neurosurgeons at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina. Doctors say the 3.5 - hour surgery accomplished all of their goals. They did not elaborate.
Kennedy is said to have been awake during the operation and is not expected to suffer any permanent neurological effects from the procedure. The senator will now undergo a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
A Kennedy spokeswoman says the senator has spoken with his wife since emerging from surgery and joked that, as he put it, he "feels like a million bucks" [feels terrific] and thinks he will "do it again tomorrow." Earlier, Kennedy said he looked forward to returning to the Senate.
Medical experts said the location of Kennedy's brain tumor would make it difficult to remove without affecting parts of the brain that control speech, eyesight, and other functions. Neurologist Eric Wong of Harvard University's Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston:
"This type of tumor is not discrete on [separate from] the brain," said Eric Wong. "Tumor and brain tissue are intermixed together."
Currently there are no cures for the type of brain cancer afflicting the senator, although modern treatments can retard the progression of the disease and prolong life. Survival times typically range from several months to several years.
One of America's best-known political figures, Kennedy is the second-longest serving member of the U.S. Senate and the younger brother of President John Kennedy. First elected to the Senate in 1962, Edward Kennedy unsuccessfully ran for president in 1980, challenging President Jimmy Carter's nomination for a second term. During his long Senate career, Kennedy has been a leading champion of civil rights and governmental activism on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged in society. This year, he made headlines as an early endorser of Democratic presidential aspirant Barack Obama.