Doctor says lesion removed from Biden was cancerous, but no further treatment needed

by mcardinal

Lauren C. Moye, FISM News

A skin lesion removed from President Joe Biden’s chest last month has now been confirmed as cancerous, according to a memo from the president’s physician.

On Feb. 16, physician Kevin O’Connor located the skin lesion while performing a physical examination of the 80-year-old president. The tissue was removed and sent for biopsy.

“As expected, the biopsy confirmed that the small lesion was basal cell carcinoma,” O’Connor wrote in a memo yesterday. “All cancerous tissue was successfully removed.”

At the time of the exam, O’Connor noted that Biden’s extensive exposure to sun damage when younger was well noted, indicating that skin cancer was an elevated risk for this reason. However, even without above-average sun exposure, basal cell carcinoma is a common cancer type with about 3.6 million cases diagnosed each year according to The Skin Cancer Foundation.

The cancer type forms in the top layer of the skin. Unlike other aggressive skin cancers, basal cell carcinoma often grows in size rather than spreading throughout the body to impact other areas.

“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,” O’Connor wrote.

Because the cancer is known to have slow growth, it is often a simple procedure to fully remove the cancerous tissue from the body. O’Connor’s memo does not indicate there is currently any risk from Biden’s basal cell carcinoma and that no further treatment is needed.

He added that Biden’s biopsy site “has healed nicely” and that he will continue surveillance as part of his ongoing care.

First Lady Jill Biden also had basal cell carcinoma removed from a lesion over her eye in January, O’Connor wrote in a separate letter. Her margins were also clear of residual skin cancer cells.

On Feb. 17, O’Connor released his notes from the physical evaluation, where he noted “it is well-established that President Biden did spend a good deal of time in the sun in his youth.”

The report notes that several non-melanoma skin cancers were removed before Biden began his presidency. It was also noted that a small lesion was removed from his chest at this time.

O’Connor’s declaration that Biden was a “healthy, vigorous, 80-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute” his presidential duties was criticized in the absence of a cognitive exam

Concerns remain that Biden’s mental health has declined. A Harvard-Harris poll released around the same time showed that 57% of Americans doubt Biden is mentally fit to be president.

The health examination comes during expectations that Biden will officially announce his re-election bid.