First Lady Jill Biden had three skin lesions removed on Wednesday, two of which were found to be cancerous, says NPR. A week ago, the White House announced that Biden would be having a procedure called Mohs surgery to remove a small lesion above her right eye that had been detected during a routine skin examination. Basal cell carcinoma was confirmed in that region, and in one other area, during the procedure.
“All cancerous tissue was successfully removed, and the margins were clear of any residual skin cancer cells,” said Kevin O’Connor, physician to the president.
While they were preparing for the procedure, doctors noticed a second lesion on Jill Biden’s left eyelid, so they removed it along with a lesion in “an additional area of concern” on the left side of her chest. Basal cell carcinoma was confirmed in the chest lesion, and the lesion from the eyelid was sent for additional testing, said Connor. He noted that all cancerous tissue had been removed by Mohs surgery, which is designed to remove basal and squamous cell carcinomas in multiple layers of the skin, while sparing healthy skin.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and the most frequently occurring form of all cancers, says the Skin Cancer Foundation. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 3.6 million cases are diagnosed each year.
Because basal cell carcinoma (BCC) grows slowly, most lesions are curable and cause minimal damage when caught and treated early. Understanding the warning signs can help you detect BCC early, when it is easier to treat.
BCC most often occurs from DNA damage to the top layer of the skin from exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or indoor tanning. BCCs can look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, scars, or growths with slightly elevated, rolled edges and a central indentation. At times, they may ooze, crust, itch, or bleed. In patients with darker skin, about half of BCCs are pigmented or brown in color.
The Skin Cancer Foundation warns that BCCs look different from one person to another. You can visit their website for more images and warning signs on how to spot this common form of cancer. When in doubt, check it out, says the Foundation: “Follow your instincts and visit your dermatologist if you see anything new, changing or unusual on your skin.”
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