Jill Biden’s skin cancer: What you need to know about the condition


Not only her husband Joe, but also First Lady Jill Biden makes headlines: she underwent cancer surgery. All of the cancerous tissue has been “successfully” removed from the affected areas, White House Medical Doctor Kevin O’Connor said. The surgery went well. The diagnosis: white skin cancer.

Diagnosis: screening and surgery

During a routine skin cancer screening, the First Lady was found to have “a small lesion above her right eye,” according to her spokeswoman. The procedure also removed a lesion on the left eyelid, which is being examined in the laboratory. Another “area of ​​concern” was also discovered on the left side of the 71-year-old’s chest. The tissue was also removed – a basal cell carcinoma was confirmed. Here, too, the entire cancerous tissue was successfully removed – there were no remnants of skin cancer cells at the edges of the lesion.

Prevention: Sunscreen is pretty simple

The most important risk factor for non-melanoma skin cancer is excessive exposure of the skin to ultraviolet (UV) rays. “It doesn’t matter whether this comes from the sun, from the solarium or other artificial UV sources,” writes the Center for Cancer Registry Data. In Germany, light skin cancer affects around 200,000 people every year.

Those affected include not only sun worshipers who prefer to spend their free time and holidays in bathing suits on a beach. For tanning fans, dermatologists have been praying down the mantra of the right sun protection for years:

  • Apply sunscreen with a high sun protection factor against UVA and UVB radiation generously
  • get out of the sun at midday – preferably between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m
  • Avoid sunburn
  • airy, but long clothing and a hat.

The advice to generally avoid the blazing sun and to prefer shady spots comes more and more often. Dermatologist Manuel Cornely said it clearly in an interview with FOCUS online: “If you want to protect your skin from cancer, the precursors and even more aging, you have to avoid direct sun.”

The skin never forgets a single sunburn

The light exposure of decades adds up, every sunburn makes a difference. Because: “The skin does not forget,” explained Cornely. With advanced age, photodamage such as pigment spots, actinic keratoses, but also white and black skin cancer becomes more apparent. Diagnosed in time, the chances of recovery are very good, especially for non-melanoma skin cancer.

The change above the right eye of the First Lady was found in a routine examination for skin cancer screening. The intervention also confirmed for this area that it was a so-called basal cell carcinoma, said O’Connor.

Difference between black and white skin cancer

A basal cell carcinoma, or basal cell carcinoma, is a tumor that, unlike a melanoma, does not usually metastasize. Basalioma is also known as light or white skin cancer. Light skin cancer is divided into two categories:

  • Basal cell carcinoma, also called basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma, also called spinalioma or squamous cell carcinoma

White skin cancer mainly occurs on parts of the body that are particularly exposed to the sun. Contrary to what the name might suggest, white skin cancer does not form bright patches. On basal cell carcinoma is usually skin-colored to reddish and nodular or tumor-like. Scaling areas of skin with a border of small nodules are also typical. The tumor may ooze and bleed.

squamous cell carcinomas however, vary greatly in appearance: they may appear wart-like or as weeping sores. The tumors often appear as ragged, scaly, or crusted patches.

the black skin cancer (malignant melanoma) does not have a uniform appearance. Flat, nodular, or raised dark, brown, or black spots are common.

Prognosis of white skin cancer

The White House medic added to the First Lady’s health: “We will monitor the area closely while it heals, but assume that no further intervention will be necessary.” The good news: Unlike black skin cancer, both subtypes of the white skin cancer to the experts at the German Cancer Research Center “show very good prospects of recovery”. The 5-year survival rates are between 96 and 100 percent.

The case of Lady Biden shows the importance of early detection through skin screening. However, each individual can also keep a close eye on their own body.

The alphabet of dangerous skin lesions

According to the ABCDE rule, even laypeople can tell whether a skin spot or birthmark can become a cancer focus. If you discover one or more of these abnormalities, you should definitely have the area evaluated by a dermatologist.

A = asymmetry

  • Does the mole have an even round shape? It’s good.
  • Is the birthmark uneven, asymmetrical? Go to the dermatologist.

B = boundary

  • Are the edges sharp and smooth? It’s good.
  • Are the edges blurred, jagged, uneven, or rough? Go to the dermatologist.

C = Colour (Farbe)

  • Does the mole have an even color? It’s good.
  • Does it have different colors, spots or spots? Go to the dermatologist.

D = diameterr

  • Is the mole smaller than five millimeters at the widest point? It’s good.
  • Is it larger than five millimeters or is the shape hemispherical? Go to the dermatologist.

E = grandeur and development

  • Is the mole flat and not changing shape? It’s good.
  • Is it higher than a millimeter, are nodules forming or is it getting bigger? Go to the dermatologist.

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