By DARLENE SUPERVILLE
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden was scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday to remove a potentially cancerous lesion above her right eye.
The first lady’s office announced a week ago that doctors had discovered the lesion during a recent routine skin cancer screening.
President Joe Biden was accompanying his wife to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where she was to undergo a “common outpatient procedure known as Mohs surgery to remove and definitively examine the tissue,” said Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the president’s physician, in a Jan. 4 memo that the first lady’s office released last week.
The surgery involves cutting away thin layers of skin and examining each layer individually for signs of cancer, according to a fact sheet from the Mayo Clinic. Doctors will keep removing layers of skin and examining them in a lab until there are no signs of cancer. The procedure takes less than four hours for most people, and they can go home afterward.
Doctors recommended removing the lesion from the 71-year-old first lady “in an abundance of caution,” O’Connor wrote in the memo. An update was expected later Wednesday.
The Skin Cancer Foundation said the delicate skin around the eyes is especially vulnerable to damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
The surgery was arranged for the morning after the Bidens returned from Mexico City, where the president held two days of talks with the leaders of Mexico and Canada and the first lady met with women, children and her counterparts.
In April 2021, the first lady underwent a medical procedure that the White House described only as “common.” Details were not provided. The president accompanied her to an outpatient center near the campus of George Washington University, and they returned to the White House after about two hours.
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