Source AP ©

White House press secretary Tony Snow returns to work after cancer surgery

Coping with cancer, White House press secretary Tony Snow returned to work and declared himself "unbelievably lucky" as he prepares to undergo chemotherapy.

"Anybody who does not believe that thoughts and prayers make a difference they're just wrong," Snow said from behind the podium during a regular briefing.

Snow returned to work five weeks after doctors discovered a recurrence of his cancer.

A former radio and television commentator, Snow brought his smooth camera-ready style to an embattled White House last May. He quickly became the public face of Bush's daily communications and has spoken openly and emotionally about being a cancer survivor.

He briefly became overcome with emotion after reporters welcomed him with a round of applause.

"Thank you so much," Snow said, taking pauses to compose himself. "It's great to be back."

Snow had his colon removed in 2005 and underwent six months of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with colon cancer. On March 26, he underwent surgery to remove a growth in his abdominal area, and doctors determined that cancer had metastasized, or spread, to the liver.

"Now I know the first reaction of people when they hear the word cancer is 'uh-oh,' but we live in kind of a different medical situation than we used to," Snow said. He will start chemotherapy Friday, using agents that he said were not widely available during his last bout with cancer.

"The design is to throw it into remission and transform it into a chronic disease," Snow said. "If cancer is merely a nuisance for a long period of time, that's fine with me."

It is common for colon cancer patients to suffer a recurrence of cancer, and the most common site is the liver. Medical experts say advances in chemotherapy can allow people with the type of cancer Snow has to return to work and good health for years.