SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is recovering after undergoing successful surgery to remove part of his colon. Doctors expect him to remain at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City for about five days after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this month.
Doctors used the 90-minute surgery Friday to determine the extent of the cancer and whether the 53-year-old Shurtleff will need to have chemotheraphy treatments.
Doctors discovered a malignant tumor in his appendix last week. He had his appendix removed after experiencing stomach problems.
Shurtleff spokesman Paul Murphy said the attorney general plans to take the next two weeks off to recover from the surgery.
"He's in a lot of pain, but he's in good spirits," Murphy said.
About eight inches of his colon were removed, Murphy added. Surgeons also injected a dye into the area to determine if the cancer had spread.
"The doctors didn't see anything that looked troubling," Murphy said. "But again, we won't know until the test results come back." Results are due next week.
This is the second serious medical issue for Shurtleff while in office. Three years ago, he was in a motorcycle accident that required surgery on his leg and temporarily confined him to a wheelchair.
Shurtleff, a Republican, was first elected as attorney general in 2000 after serving for two years as a Salt Lake County commissioner. He was re-elected by wide margins in 2004 and 2008.