Skip to main content /POLITICS

McCain has skin lesion removed

McCain wore a bandage on his nose after the procedure Monday night.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, underwent surgery Monday to remove a lesion from his nose "consistent" with an early form of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, the senator's office announced.

Doctors removed the lesion during a brief procedure. McCain, 65, was scheduled to return to the medical facility Tuesday to have skin from an adjacent area cover the area left by the excision.

McCain said the procedure took about 10 minutes and that he had "had worse bouts at the dentist."

He said the melanoma was not malignant and was much less serious than the lesions he had removed from his left temple and arm in August 2000.

"Everything will be fine," he said.

McCain's office said in a statement it was a "new, very low-risk lesion" unrelated to the senator's previous bouts of melanoma.

Examples of Melanoma 
Melanoma facts 
Learn how to do a skin self-exam for melanoma from the National Cancer Institute 

The lesion, described as a "small pale freckle" less than 1 centimeter in diameter, was found on the left side of his nose during a routine skin examination in January, the statement said.

The surgery took place at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, the same place where McCain had his previous procedure. In 1993, he had a melanoma removed from his shoulder.

McCain will return to work "after taking it easy for the remainder of the week," the statement said.

The senator was initially to have had the surgery Sunday night, but he delayed it so he could question former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay, who was supposed to have testified before the Senate Commerce Committee Monday morning but canceled.

McCain then flew to Phoenix for the procedure.

Discoloration was visible on the left side of McCain's nose (inset).  

A spokeswoman said McCain gets regular checkups for skin cancer every three months.

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. It can be cured if diagnosed in the early stages. If melanoma is not removed during its early stages, however, its cancer cells may invade healthy tissue.

According to WebMD, when a melanoma becomes thick and deep, the disease often "spreads to other parts of the body and is difficult to control."

McCain made an unsuccessful run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2000. First elected in 1986, he is serving his third term in the Senate.




Back to the top