Joe Biden: Cancer charities react to ‘benign’ diagnosis

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Doctors discovered the mass during a routine colonoscopy

Vice President Joe Biden has been diagnosed with a benign growth that removed from his colon during a routine scan.

He was operated on on Thursday evening after having a mass removed which appeared to be unrelated to his colon cancer.

Mr Biden’s office described it as a “benign growth”, potentially precancerous, that was removed by his doctor during a routine colonoscopy.

The pancreatic cancer charity Pancreatic Cancer Action Network confirmed he had gone into surgery.

Cancer charities hope this highlights the importance of regular screening.

Dr Daniel Small, medical director of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Metastasis Program, described the discovery as “very mild”.

“These grow very slowly, they don’t grow to size at all,” he told the BBC.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Mr Biden has had a number of bouts with illness and underwent cancer surgery in 2016

The 72-year-old Biden is said to be recovering well.

The vice president has had several bouts of illness, first battling prostate cancer in 2008, after a fall. It was recurrence that forced him to step down as President Barack Obama’s vice president in 2015.

In December, he disclosed that he had had stage 2 colon cancer and had undergone surgery to remove the cancer.

A Johns Hopkins Cancer Center spokesperson said tests following his surgery confirmed his diagnosis of “a pre-cancerous growth”.

Prof Small said people with this type of growth had a much lower mortality rate than most cancers.

“A full checkup every three to five years is really important to figure out what’s going on,” he added.

The disease is almost always preventable, or easily treated if caught early.

“Early detection means prevention and help.”

Mr Biden, a senator when he was elected vice president, was the first Democrat to run against Mr Obama for the party’s nomination to the presidency in 2008.

He then oversaw the White House’s response to the 2012 attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Vice President Joe Biden was the first Democrat to run against Barack Obama for the party’s presidential nomination in 2008

In October 2016, he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous melanoma – a type of skin cancer. His treatment was successful and the cancer went into remission.

Mr Biden is married to Dr Jill Biden, a breast cancer specialist. He has two adult children.

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