First lady Jill Biden had two cancerous lesions removed Wednesday, the White House doctor said in a memo.
The first lady, 71, had gone into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to have a small lesion above her right eye surgically removed. It was discovered in a skin cancer screening.
“The procedure confirmed that the small lesion was basal cell carcinoma,” Dr. Kevin O’Connor said in a statement.
A second lesion, also confirmed to be basal cell carcinoma, was found on the left side of Biden’s chest during her pre-operative consultation, his memo said. Both were removed in an outpatient procedure known as Mohs surgery.
As they were prepping her for the procedure, hospital staff members also discovered another lesion on her left eyelid, which was removed and is being tested, O’Connor said.
“Again, all cancerous tissue was successfully removed,” he added.
O’Connor said that “as anticipated,” Biden “is experiencing some facial swelling and bruising” after the outpatient procedure “but is in good spirits and is feeling well,” adding, “She will return to the White House later today.”
The first lady’s press secretary, Vanessa Valdivia, later said Biden was “doing well” after returning to the White House on Wednesday evening.
“She sends her love and gratitude to all the doctors and nurses at Walter Reed for their expertise, care, and kindness, and appreciates all those who have sent her well-wishes and prayers,” Valdivia said.
Basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, is easily treatable if it is detected early. It strikes the basal cells in the skin’s top layer.
O’Connor noted that basal cell carcinoma lesions “do not tend to ‘spread’ or metastasize, as some more serious skin cancers such as melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma are known to do. They do, however, have the potential to increase in size, resulting in a more significant issue as well as increased challenges for surgical removal.”
Zoë Richards contributed.