US Senator Edward M. Kennedy flew back home on Monday, a week after a surgery to treat a cancerous brain tumor.
Kennedy who left the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, told reporters waiting outside his home in Massachusetts, ''It's good to be home, good to be here.''
''His doctors are pleased with his progress since surgery a week ago, and he will continue to recuperate at home before starting the next phase of his treatment,'' Kennedy's office said in a statement. ''He is thankful for the extraordinary care of the doctors and nurses at Duke, and also for the continued prayers and well wishes from the people of Massachusetts and all over the country.''
Kennedy, 76, underwent the risky, 3 1/2-hour surgery last Monday to remove as much of the tumor as possible, a procedure aimed at improving the success of chemotherapy and radiation. His surgeon at Duke, Dr. Allan Friedman, said Monday that Kennedy ''is making an excellent recovery.''
''He will continue his recuperation at home in Massachusetts under the supervision of the very capable doctors at the Massachusetts General Hospital,'' Friedman said in a statement.
Representative Patrick Kennedy (Rhode Island), told the Providence Journal on Sunday that his father's surgery ''went better than anyone expected.''
He said his father was now looking ahead to working with Sen. Barack Obama, whom the Rhode Island Democratic Party has endorsed unanimously for president.
"I know he's planning for the future," Patrick Kennedy said of his father, "and being chairman of the committee that will consider the health-care legislation when Obama is president."
Sen. Kennedy has worked for universal health care since his election to the senate in 1962. His recent illness, according to Patrick Kennedy, has added urgency to the potential legislation.
He really wants to make sure that he's ready to go," Patrick Kennedy said about his father, "so that he can make health care available to everyone else who needs it."
The Massachusetts Democrat was diagnosed last month with a malignant glioma, a lethal type of brain tumor, after having a seizure. A malignant glioma is one of the worst kinds of brain cancer, and malignant gliomas are diagnosed in about 9,000 Americans a year.
But Kennedy's family and doctors have released few details about his particular type of tumor, which plays a key role in determining his survival odds. Some cancer specialists have said Kennedy appears to have a glioblastoma multiforme -- a serious and tough-to-remove type of tumor -- because other kinds are more common in younger people, news agency AP reports.
Doctors familiar with the type of surgery have said it almost never leads to a cure, but radiation or chemotherapy treatments have a better chance of success because there's less tumor to fight.
''The senator and his wife Vicki are wonderful people, and I hope you will join me in wishing them the best as they continue their difficult journey to fight this disease,'' Friedman said. ''Their courageous and positive attitude is a lesson for us all.''