U.S. first lady Jill Biden underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove a skin lesion above her right eye and a second one discovered on the left side of her chest, and all cancerous tissue was successfully removed, the White House physician said.
The 71-year-old first lady, accompanied by President Joe Biden, spent more than seven hours at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the outpatient procedure, and they were expected back at the White House later in the day.
White House physician Kevin O’Connor said in a statement that the procedure on the lesion above her eye “confirmed that the small lesion was basal cell carcinoma.”
“All cancerous tissue was successfully removed, and the margins were clear of any residual skin cancer cells. We will monitor the area closely as it heals but do not anticipate any more procedures will be needed,” he said.
In addition, a small lesion was discovered on Jill Biden’s left eyelid and it was fully excised and sent for further examination, O’Connor said.
During her preoperative consultation, an additional “area of concern” was identified on the left side of the first lady’s chest, and it was consistent with potential basal cell carcinoma, O’Connor said.
This lesion was also excised and basal cell carcinoma was confirmed. “All cancerous tissue was successfully removed,” O’Connor said.
The president and first lady arrived at the Walter Reed facility in suburban Bethesda, Maryland, just after 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) on Wednesday, and spent all day there.
President Biden “wanted to be there to support her,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “They’ve been married for 45 years now and he wanted to be there with his wife.”
O’Connor said in a statement last week that the first lady would undergo a common procedure known as Mohs surgery to remove and definitively examine the tissue.
Mohs surgery involves cutting away thin layers of skin after which each is looked at closely for signs of cancer. The process continues until there is no sign of cancer, preserving healthy tissue and reducing the need for further treatment.