First lady Jill Biden has surgery to remove multiple cancerous skin lesions

High-tech imaging tools advance skin cancer detection

High-tech imaging tools advance skin cancer detection


Washington — Doctors successfully removed cancerous skin tissue from first lady Jill Biden’s chest and face during a scheduled procedure Wednesday, according to a letter from Kevin O’Connor, the White House physician.

O’Connor said the first lady was “feeling well” and would return to the White House later Wednesday. Surgeons also excised an additional area of concern from her left eyelid, he said.

The first lady, accompanied by President Biden, went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland to have the lesion above her right eye examined and removed in a procedure known as Mohs surgery. Before surgery, doctors noticed the areas of concern on her left eyelid and the left side of her chest, O’Connor said.

Both the lesion above her right eye and the lesion on her chest were confirmed to be basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. In both instances, “all cancerous tissue was successfully removed,” O’Connor said. The lesion from her eyelid was sent for additional testing, he noted.

The additional excisions explained why the first lady was admitted for more than seven hours.

“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,” O’Connor wrote. “They do, however, have the potential to increase in size, resulting in a more significant issue as well as increased challenges for surgical removal.” 

The White House doctor added that she is “experiencing some facial swelling and bruising, but is in good spirits and is feeling well.”

The initial lesion was spotted above the first lady’s right eye during a routine skin cancer screening, the White House said last week. 

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