WASHINGTON (AP) -- A skin lesion removed from President Joe Biden's chest last month was a basal cell carcinoma -- a common form of skin cancer -- his doctor said Friday, adding that no further treatment was required.
Dr. Kevin O'Connor, the White House doctor who has served as Biden's longtime physician, said "all cancerous tissue was successfully removed" during the president's routine physical on Feb. 16. Biden, 80, was deemed by O'Connor to be " healthy, vigorous" and "fit " to handle his White House responsibilities during that physical exam, which comes as he is weeks away from launching an expected bid for reelection in 2024.
O'Connor said the site of the removal on Biden's chest has "healed nicely" and the president will continue regular skin screenings as part of his routine health plan.
Basal cells are among the most common and easily treated forms of cancer -- especially when caught early. O'Connor said they don't tend to spread like other cancers, but could grow in size, which is why they are removed.
Biden had "several localized non-melanoma skin cancers" removed from his body before he started his presidency, O'Connor said in his Feb. 16 summary of the president's health, noting it was well established that Biden spent a lot of time in the sun during his youth.
First lady Jill Biden in January had two basal cell lesions removed from her right eye and chest.
She said in an Associated Press interview last week that she's now "extra careful" about sunscreen, especially when she's at the beach.
Basal cell carcinoma is a slow-growing cancer that usually is confined to the surface of skin -- doctors almost always can remove it all with a shallow incision -- and seldom causes serious complications or becomes life-threatening.
The Bidens have long been advocates for fighting cancer. Their adult son Beau died in 2015 from brain cancer.