White House: Jill Biden has cancerous lesions removed

White House: Jill Biden Has Cancerous Lesions Removed
Susan Walsh, Associated Press

First lady Jill Biden walks out of the White House in Washington on Wednesday as she and President Joe Biden prepare to board Marine One.

WASHINGTON — Surgeons removed a cancerous lesion above first lady Jill Biden’s right eye Wednesday, as well as another cancerous lesion on her chest, the White House said, while a third lesion on her left eyelid was being examined.

Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the president’s physician, said examinations showed the lesion over Biden’s left eye and one newly discovered on her chest were both confirmed to be basal cell carcinoma. The lesion on her right eye was “fully excised, with margins, and was sent for standard microscopic examination.”

Biden and her husband, President Joe Biden, spent the day at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, while she underwent the scheduled outpatient procedure known as Mohs surgery to remove and examine the lesions.

O’Connor said the first lady was “experiencing some facial swelling and bruising, but is in good spirits and is feeling well.” She was expected to return to the White House Wednesday evening.

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

That surgery involves cutting away thin layers of skin and examining each layer for signs of cancer, according to a fact sheet from the Mayo Clinic. Doctors keep removing layers of skin and examining them until there are no signs of cancer. The procedure takes less than four hours for most people, and they can go home afterward.

Doctors recommended removing the lesion from the 71-year-old first lady “in an abundance of caution,” O’Connor wrote in the memo.

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

The surgery was arranged 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 and the first lady met with women, children and her North American counterparts.

In April 2021, the first lady had a medical procedure that the White House described only as “common.” Details were not provided. The president accompanied her to an outpatient center near the campus of George Washington University, and they returned to the White House after about two hours.

Biden also accompanied the first lady to Walter Reed in July 2021 for outpatient treatment after she punctured her left foot while walking on a beach in Hawaii. She had stopped in Hawaii for official events after participating in opening events for the Tokyo Olympics.