"I just spoke to the secretary's doctor a few minutes ago. I'm happy to report that he's out of surgery, that everything went fine," said department spokesman Richard Boucher.
Powell's prostate was removed in the two-hour surgery, Boucher said.
"The doctors say he had a localized prostate cancer," Boucher said at a department briefing. "They say he did extremely well. There are no complications and a full recovery is expected."
Powell is expected to remain at the hospital "for several days before he returns home. He will be on a reduced schedule while he recovers from the operation," Boucher said.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage will be in charge in Powell's absence, spokesman Adam Ereli said.
Ereli said the surgery had been scheduled for some time and he described it as "routine intervention." President Bush was informed of the surgery two weeks ago, Ereli said.
According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is the most common form of the disease among American men — especially African-Americans and those over age 55. Powell is 66 years old.
The cancer affects a walnut-sized gland, located under the bladder, which is part of the male reproductive system.
About 180,000 men underwent treatment for prostate cancer in 2001, according to the National Institutes of Health. Roughly 30,000 died from the disease that year.
Prostate cancer is the third deadliest cancer for Americans. Lung, breast and colorectal cancers kill more people overall. An American man has a 30 percent chance of getting prostate cancer, but only a 3 percent risk of dying from it, according to the Mayo clinic.
Treatment for prostate cancer can involved combinations of surveillance, radiation and hormone therapy or surgery. In recent years, prominent prostate cancer sufferers have included then New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, U.S. Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, FBI Director Robert Mueller, New York Yankees manager Joe Torre and former Sen. Bob Dole, the 1996 Republican presidential nominee.
Powell is a retired 4-star general who held the top military position, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, from 1989 to 1993. He held that position during the Persian Gulf War.
He has been Mr. Bush's secretary of state for his entire term. There has been much speculation whether he will continue in that position if Bush is re-elected next year.
Powell is credited with winning international support for a U.N. resolution last year that led to the return of weapons inspectors in Iraq. But he ultimately was unable to win a second resolution in support of the U.S.-led war.