During this procedure, doctors confirmed that the lesion was basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States. During Biden’s preoperative prep, doctors also identified a lesion on the left side of his chest, the appearance of which was consistent with basal cell carcinoma, O’Connor said. That lesion was also removed with the Mohs surgery, O’Connor said, and all cancerous tissue was removed.
Additionally, doctors identified a small lesion on Biden’s left eyelid during the procedure, but did not conclude that it was likely basal cell carcinoma. They removed it and sent it to a lab for “standard microscopic examination.”
Experts said Biden has an excellent prognosis since his skin cancer was identified and removed early. Basal cell carcinoma is much less serious than other forms of skin cancer, such as melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma, because its lesions rarely metastasize.
Furthermore, the cure rate for Mohs surgery is about 98%, said Mathew Avram, director of the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital. There is a very small chance of recurrence, Avram said.
“This shouldn’t have any effect on your long-term health,” he added. “Even when it occurs again, it occurs locally and you just take out more tissue.”
Basal cell carcinomas can be aggressive locally, experts said, but they rarely pose a long-term problem if all of the cancerous tissue is removed.
“There really shouldn’t be a problem for Dr. Biden,” said Ashwani Rajput, director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Washington, DC “In most cases, that solves the problem. Surgical resection is the treatment for this, as she did, so no further treatment is needed.”
Basal cell carcinomas can grow in size if not identified and removed early, which can create additional challenges, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for Jill Biden. The first lady has some facial swelling and bruising, O’Connor said, “but she’s in good spirits and feeling good.” She was expected to return to the White House on Wednesday night.
Other presidents have faced similar cases. Ronald Reagan had a growth removed from his nose in 1985 while he was president, which turned out to be basal cell carcinoma. His wife, Nancy Reagan, was diagnosed with the same type of cancer in her upper lip in 1982. She had it removed and required no further treatment.
George HW Bush had basal cell carcinoma removed from his left cheekbone in 1986 while he was Reagan’s vice president.
The president and Jill Biden, who returned from a trip to Mexico earlier this week, have been married for 45 years. Aides say Jill Biden is the president’s closest confidant and that her support would be critical if Biden chooses to run for re-election in 2024, as expected. Biden was at his wife’s side all day Wednesday, the White House said, returning to the West Wing in the early evening.
“Today is about his wife. That’s the president’s focus right now,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a White House press briefing on Wednesday.
In August, Jill Biden had a covid recovery
Mohs surgery is a procedure that involves cutting thin layers of skin and examining each layer closely to see if it is consistent with signs of skin cancer. Doctors keep cutting away layers until there are no more signs of cancer. The aim is to remove the affected tissue while protecting the healthy skin around it.
Basal cell carcinomas most often occur as a result of damage from the sun or ultraviolet rays. They are more common in fair-skinned people who have less skin pigmentation, Avram said.
“If you get it all out, you’ve healed. That’s the most important thing to know about basal cell skin cancer,” Avram said. “It should not be confused with a diagnosis like melanoma, which is a skin cancer that metastasizes and is much more lethal.”
Jill Biden’s procedure comes as the president tries to quell concerns about her age as she prepares for another presidential race. Biden is 80 years old, making him the country’s oldest president, and Jill Biden is 71.
Aside from minor physical changes, Biden has shown no signs of declining, according to medical records. O’Connor noted in 2021 that the president’s gait had become “stiffier and less fluid” since the 2020 election, highlighting a case of arthritis in his spine and the lingering effects of a broken foot.
The Biden family has battled other forms of cancer that are much more dangerous. Biden’s son Beau was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer known as glioblastoma in 2013 and died in 2015. The president has spoken frequently about his son’s cancer, increasingly attributing it to exposure to fire pits while serving in the US Army. army in Iraq, and he has made the fight against cancer one of his most valued causes.
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