White House: Jill Biden removed two cancerous tumors

The president’s doctor says an examination showed a lesion above Jill Biden’s left eye, and one recently found on her chest was confirmed as basal cell carcinoma.

WASHINGTON — Surgeons have removed a cancerous growth over First Lady Jill Biden’s right eye and one on her chest, the White House said Wednesday, while a third lesion on her left eyelid is being investigated.

Dr. Kevin O’Connor, President Joe Biden’s physician, said examinations showed that a lesion above Jill Biden’s right eye and a mass on her breast were confirmed to be basal cell carcinoma. The lesion on her left eyelid was “completely resected, with margins, and sent for standard microscopic examination.” O’Connor Report.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most curable form of skin cancer. It is a slow-growing cancer that is usually limited to the surface of the skin—doctors can almost always remove it entirely with a shallow incision—and rarely causes serious complications or becomes life-threatening.

The Bidens spent the day at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where the 71-year-old first lady underwent a scheduled outpatient procedure, known as the Mohs operation, to remove and examine the lesions. After nearly nine hours in the hospital, the President returned to the White House alone; The first lady was expected to follow later in the evening.

O’Connor said the first lady had “a little facial swelling and bruising, but she’s in good spirits and doing well.”

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Basal cell carcinoma is so common that there are no good counts. The American Cancer Society classifies them as another easily treatable type called squamous cell carcinoma. According to the organization, about 3.3 million Americans receive one of these two types each year, and the vast majority of them are basal cell types.

Her office announced a week ago that doctors discovered the lesion during a recent routine skin cancer screening. She had “a routine outpatient procedure known as the Mohs operation to remove and definitively examine the tissue,” O’Connor said in a Jan. 4 memo that the first lady’s office released last week.

This surgery involves cutting off thin layers of skin and examining each layer for signs of cancer. Doctors continue to remove layers of skin and examine them until the signs of cancer disappear.

Doctors recommended that Jill Biden’s lesion be removed “with great care,” O’Connor wrote in the memo.

The Skin Cancer Foundation said the delicate skin around the eyes is particularly vulnerable to damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

The operation was scheduled for the morning after the Bidens returned from Mexico City, where the president held two days of talks with the leaders of Mexico and Canada.

In April 2021, the First Lady underwent a medical procedure that the White House described as “routine.” Details were not reported. The president escorted her to a dispensary near the George Washington University campus, and they returned to the White House about two hours later.

Biden also accompanied the first lady to Walter Reid in July 2021 for outpatient treatment after she pierced her left leg while walking on a beach in Hawaii. She stopped in Hawaii for official events after attending the opening of the Tokyo Olympics.

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