First lady Dr. Jill Biden on Wednesday spent several hours at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, undergoing a scheduled outpatient procedure that revealed a second area of concern for skin cancer.
According to a letter issued by White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor, Biden had a Mohs surgery to remove and examine a lesion above her right eye, which was recently discovered during a routine skin cancer checkup.
“The procedure confirmed the small lesion was basal cell carcinoma,” O’Connor wrote in the letter. “All cancerous tissue was successfully removed, and the margins were clear of any residual skin cancer cells.”
However, during a pre-operative consultation, O’Connor noted “an additional area of concern was identified on the left side of the first lady’s chest.”
This area was also treated with Mohs surgery on Wednesday, prolonging the length of the overall procedure and keeping the first lady, who was accompanied by President Joe Biden through most of the day, at Walter Reed longer than a White House official had previously indicated to CNN.
The chest lesion was also confirmed to be basal cell carcinoma, according to O’Connor, and was “successfully removed.”
A separate small lesion on the first lady’s left eyelid was also found during the operation and was removed, O’Connor wrote. That lesion was sent for “standard microscopic examination.”
The statement noted that the first lady, 71, was experiencing “some facial swelling and bruising” as a result of the surgery, but that she is in “good spirits” and “feeling well.” The first lady will remain at Walter Reed until later Wednesday evening, a White House official told CNN, and is scheduled to depart the medical center separately from the president, who returned to the White House in the late afternoon.
O’Connor’s letter about Jill Biden’s surgery noted that 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.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the area from which one of the cancerous lesions had been removed. One of the cancerous lesions was removed from above Jill Biden’s right eye.