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Basal Cell Carcinoma Removed From President Biden’s Chest


The commander-in-chief’s cancerous tissue was successfully removed last month.

Schultz/White House

Schultz/White House

During a routine physical, President Joe Biden’s doctor removed a skin lesion from his chest.1 A biopsy confirmed the lesion was basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Kevin O’Connor, DO confirms all cancerous tissue was successfully removed on February 16 and has healed nicely. Biden’s longtime physician said the president will continue regular skin screenings as part of his routine health plan. The president has made it well-known that he spent a lot of time in the sun during his youth. In fact, O’Connor reflected on Biden getting several localized non-melanoma skin cancers removed from his body before beginning his presidency.

The president had one of the most common non-melanoma skin cancers and was one of 2 million US patients diagnosed annually. Treatment for skin cancers, such as BCC, has been a hot topic at dermatology conferences and meetings this year. Aaron Farberg, MD, FAAD discussed hedgehog inhibitors at a recent session during South Beach Symposium in Miami, Florida. While President Biden’s doctor didn’t go into great detail about his treatment, Farberg encourages clinicians to not be afraid of prescribing hedgehog inhibitors to enhance patient care. Aside from treating non-melanoma skin cancers, hedgehog inhibitors can also be considered for smaller tubers or as a neoadjuvant therapy.

A recent study conducted by Emily Ruiz, MD, MPH, of the department of dermatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues recently found that consistent use of hedgehog inhibitor therapy is difficult for patients to maintain in a real-world setting. Researchers reported that while hedgehog inhibitors work very well, they have high toxicity. In order to manage these effects, treatment may be interrupted for weeks or even months. They emphasized that for patients with advanced BCC, there is “no consensus recommendation on the optimal duration of use of HHI, and few studies have investigated patterns of HHI use among real-world patients.”2

Ruiz and colleagues concluded that future research should evaluate the introduction of new therapies to address the high rates of hedgehog inhibitor discontinuation, short times to discontinuation, and low rates of reinitiation among patients with BCC.


1. Miller Z. Doctor: Lesion removed from Biden's chest was cancerous. AP NEWS. https://apnews.com/article/biden-skin-cancer-basal-cell-c8868eec1e99b28a9cf497ee39942359. Published March 3, 2023. Accessed March 3, 2023.

2. Ge W, Chen CI, Wu N, Fury MG, Ruiz E, Jalbert JJ. Hedgehog pathway inhibitor real-world treatment patterns in patients with basal cell carcinoma: a claims-based analysis. Future Oncol. 2022;18(23):2561-2572. doi:10.2217/fon-2022-0373

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