July 29, 2008

McCain Has Bit of Skin Removed for Biopsy


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Republican Sen. John McCain said Monday he had had a small patch of skin removed from his face and biopsied as part of a regular checkup with his dermatologist.

"She said that I was doing fine," McCain, who has survived four bouts with melanoma, or skin cancer, told reporters on a presidential campaign visit to an oil rig. "She took a small little nick from my cheek, as she does regularly, and that will be biopsied just to make sure that everything is fine."

The Arizona senator had the procedure performed near Phoenix during a checkup he undergoes every three months. He sported a small bandage on his upper right cheek on his campaign plane but had removed it by the time he spoke with reporters. A small, dark spot stood out on his face.

The campaign also issued a statement from Michael Yardley, chair of public affairs at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., who said the biopsy was ordered "as a precaution" and "is a routine minor procedure."

McCain urged people to stay out of the sun and to wear sunscreen, particularly during the summer.

"If you ever have any slight discoloration please go to your dermatologist or your doctor and get it checked out as soon as possible," he said.

Asked if his doctor was confident the problem was nothing serious, McCain replied, "Sure, sure."

McCain said he could get the biopsy results today. Asked whether voters should worry about his health, McCain told CNN's Larry King they should not.

"Melanoma is something if you look at it, and you be careful, it's fine," he said. "I had one serious bout with it and that was, frankly, due to my own neglect because I let it go and go and go. In fact, I was running for president at the time. I'm not making that mistake again."

The Arizona senator, who suffered severe sun damage from his 51/ 2 years in Vietnamese prison camps, gets an in-depth skin cancer check every few months because of a medical history of dangerous melanomas.

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