Al Unser expected to make full recovery
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser was resting and expected to make a full recovery after doctors in Colorado removed a tumor from his liver Wednesday.
"He's good for another 100,000 miles," joked Unser's wife, Susan. "The doctor is 99 percent sure they got all of it. There's no evidence it spread anywhere."
The surgery was performed at University of Colorado Hospital in Denver.
Unser was hospitalized in his hometown of Albuquerque last month for treatment of pancreatitis and gallstones, but the liver operation became necessary after a biopsy disclosed the tumor.
Unser has a genetic condition called hemochromatosis, his wife said, causing him to retain excess iron. It apparently caused the 2-centimeter tumor to develop.
Doctors removed half of Unser's liver as well as his gall bladder during the Colorado procedure. Gall bladder surgery initially had been scheduled for last month in New Mexico.
"But they never got that far with the gall bladder," Susan Unser said. "They found the tumor when they did a CT scan. That's when they found his gallstones, but they also found this cancer."
The 66-year-old Unser is expected to remain hospitalized for about two weeks.
He first complained of abdominal pain while changing a flat tire on his motor home during a drive to California in October. Waiting for a tow truck, he grew uncomfortable and was examined in Arizona before returning to Albuquerque.
The family had been trying to downplay Unser's health out of concerns for his privacy, but word of the tumor leaked late Wednesday.
"It's been hard to keep this a secret," Susan Unser said. "He just wanted to make sure it was either really bad news or really good news before putting it out. We're thankful it's really glad news."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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