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Tuesday, December 19, 2006
First lady Laura Bush has cancerous skin tumor removed
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- First lady Laura Bush had a malignant skin cancer tumor removed from her right shin shortly after election day in November, a White House spokeswoman said Monday.

Spokeswoman Susan Whitson identified the tumor as a squamous (prono: SKWah-mus) cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer, and said it was first noticed shortly before election day. Whitson called it "a little surgical procedure."

"It was no big deal," Whitson said. "She detected it early. She caught it early."

Because the first lady took early action to have it removed, the area is healing well and there is no need for any additional treatment, she said.

White House officials said it was just before election day when a reporter noticed a band-aid on the right shin of Mrs. Bush. When asked about it at the time, Whitson said it was a sore. But Whitson now says it was a sore that wasn't healing, so the first lady had a biopsy and discovered it was a malignant tumor. Whitson said shortly after election day Mrs. Bush had it removed under a local anesthetic.

The treatment was revealed Monday evening after a second reporter at a Chanuka party noticed a bandage on Mrs. Bush's leg and asked about it. Whitson said the procedure was not made public earlier because it was a "private matter."

The Bush family is no stranger to cancer scares. President Bush had four potentially pre-cancerous lesions removed from his face in December 2001 and his father had a small skin cancer patch removed from his left cheek when he was vice president in May 1986.

-- CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux
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