Washington — President Biden had a small skin lesion with cancerous tissue removed from his chest during his physical exam in February and “no further treatment is required,” according to the White House physician.
The tissue was excised during a procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland on Feb. 16 and sent for a traditional biopsy, Dr. Kevin O’Connor wrote in a letter released by the White House on Friday. Testing confirmed the lesion was basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer.
“All cancerous tissue was successfully removed,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor noted that basal cell carcinoma lesions do not typically spread such as some more serious skin cancers like melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma. He also said the site of the biopsy has “healed nicely” and doctors would continue to monitor Mr. Biden’s skin.
First lady Jill Biden also had lesions on her chest and face surgically removed in January. Two lesions were confirmed to be basal cell carcinoma, and another was sent for further testing. O’Connor also said at the time that the procedure successfully removed all cancerous tissue.
In the U.S. alone, an estimated 2 million Americans are diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma each year, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. With early detection and treatment, almost all basal cell carcinomas can be successfully removed without complications, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
“A number of effective treatments can usually be performed on an outpatient basis, using a local anesthetic with minimal pain,” the foundation’s website states. “Afterwards, most wounds can heal naturally, leaving minimal scarring.”
Without prompt treatment, the tumor can grow, becoming more dangerous and require more extensive treatment.
Mr. Biden spent about three hours at Walter Reed for his routine physical last month, when the lesion was removed. O’Connor said then that the 80-year-old president remains “fit for duty” and “fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations.”
The president exhibited no symptoms of “long COVID” after contracting the coronavirus last summer and his atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, remains stable, O’Connor said. Mr. Biden continues to take medication to prevent blood clots and manage his cholesterol, according to the doctor.