Biden says Jill is ‘doing really well’ after surgery for cancerous lesions

Biden says wife Jill is ‘doing really well’ after being under anesthesia for ‘five hours’ to have lesions removed – and cancer has less than 1% chance of returning

  • Joe Biden said Jill is ‘doing really well’ after her outpatient surgery to remove cancerous lesions from her face and chest
  • She was under anesthesia for about five hours for her Mohs surgery
  • ‘She has a 0 to 1% chance of the return of any cancer so thank god she is doing really well,’ the president said

President Joe Biden said on Thursday that his wife Jill is ‘doing really well’ after her outpatient surgery to remove lesions from her face and chest. 

The president, who spent around eight hours at Walter Reed National Military Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland on Wednesday with the first lady, said she was under anesthesia for about five hours for her Mohs surgery.

Jill Biden returned to the White House late Wednesday night to recover after having three lesions removed – with at least two of them determined to be cancerous.

The president said she is ‘doing really well. She was under a long time, for five hours. What they were doing is remove the moles, remove what they thought might be cancerous and test it and see what it was.’

President Joe Biden said wife Jill is doing 'really well' after her surgery

Jill Biden on Wednesday on the way from the White House to Walter Reed National Military Hospital

President Joe Biden said Jill Biden is ‘doing really well’ after her outpatient surgery to remove lesions from her face and chest – above right is the first lady on Wednesday on the way from the White House to Walter Reed National Military Hospital

‘She is up. We had breakfast this morning and she is recovering,’ the president said.

White House Dr. Kevin O’Connor said in a memo Wednesday the first lady is experiencing facial swelling and bruising after going to the hospital to have a lesion from above her right eye, which was confirmed to be basal cell carcinoma.

The president said she is feeling some soreness.

‘She will be sore for a while because of the work they did on her eyes and — that’s where one of these were. But she has a 0 to 1% chance of the return of any cancer so thank God she is doing really well,’ he said.

During the surgery, doctors also excised a lesion from Jill Biden’s left eyelid and sent it in for microscopic examination to determine if it was cancerous.

They also found a lesion on her chest, which appeared to be basal cell carcinoma, and doctors extracted. They later confirmed it was that type of skin cancer. 

‘All cancerous tissue was successfully removed,’ O’Connor said. 

Jill Biden thanked the hospital staff for their care.

Her spokesperson Vanessa Valdivia said in a statement on Wednesday night that the first lady was ‘doing well and in good spirits. She sends her love and gratitude to all the doctors and nurses at Walter Reed for their expertise, care, and kindness, and appreciates all those who have sent her well-wishes and prayers.’

Jill Biden, who teaches English at a Northern Virginia Community College, will be able to have some recovery time as the new semester of classes haven’t started yet.  

First Lady Jill Biden leaves the White House before outpatient surgery to remove a small lesion above her right eye, known as Mohs surgery

First Lady Jill Biden leaves the White House before outpatient surgery to remove a small lesion above her right eye, known as Mohs surgery

Dr. Kevin O'Connor said that one of the lesions was determined to be basal cell carcinoma, another was removed because it appeared to be the same type of skin cancer, while a third was removed and sent into a lab

Dr. Kevin O’Connor said that one of the lesions was determined to be basal cell carcinoma, another was removed because it appeared to be the same type of skin cancer, while a third was removed and sent into a lab 

President Joe Biden returns to the White House after spending the day at Walter Reed alongside his wife

President Joe Biden returns to the White House after spending the day at Walter Reed alongside his wife

Mohs Surgery is an outpatient procedure where thin layers of skin are cut away and tested for cancer. 

Jill Biden’s office announced last week she would undergo the procedure, providing a letter from O’Connor.

In his letter on Wednesday, the Physician to the President 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.’

‘They do, however, have the potential to increase in size, resulting in a more significant issue as well as increased challenges for surgical removal,’ he wrote. 

The first lady steps off Marine One at the National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland

The first lady steps off Marine One at the National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland 

Jill Biden, 71, is the oldest first lady in modern American history.

President Biden has accompanied her for two other medical procedures. 

Prior to Wednesday’s procedure, Dr. Biden had a ‘common medical procedure’ done at an outpatient center near the George Washington University campus in April 2021, with the White House not disclosing additional details.  

And, in July 2021, she traveled to Walter Reed to have debris removed from her foot after she stepped on an unnamed object while walking on a beach in Hawaii during a pit stop made in the state as she returned from the Tokyo Olympics. 

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked at her briefing on Wednesday if the president was undergoing any part of his physical while waiting on the first lady at Walter Reed.

She indicated that wasn’t the case. 

‘This is about his wife today. He wanted to be there and support her,’ Jean-Pierre said. ‘They’ve been married for 45 years, and he wanted to be there with Dr. Biden during this time.’ 

It is not the Biden family’s first brush with cancer.

Beau Biden was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer called glioblastoma in 2013. He died in 2015.

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