Joe Biden underwent a colonoscopy on Thursday and, following an exam lasting about 2 ½ hours, doctors removed a noncancerous lesion in his colon, a person familiar with the matter said.
Biden was examined and no cancer was detected, according to the person.
Biden, 76, has a history of bowel problems. In 1992, while running for president, he underwent surgery to remove a 1½-inch cancerous lesion from his colon. During his health care reform fight in 2009, Biden was hospitalized for six days because of a blood clot, which doctors identified as a venous thromboembolism. He sought a follow-up treatment, a blood thinner to prevent blood clots, but refused to take more blood thinners because he thought they could interfere with his heart pacemaker. He was on blood thinners for four months.
After the removal of the lesion, doctors will wait a month or so to see whether the scar tissue has started to recover, according to a guideline published by the American College of Gastroenterology.
Biden’s doctors noted that his current blood clot, in a vein that carries blood from the groin to the liver, will require no follow-up treatment and likely will not require another colonoscopy.
Biden was scheduled to make a rare public appearance on Thursday, when he would have been introduced as the keynote speaker at a celebration of Vietnam War veterans. But after learning of the lesion, he canceled.
Spokesman Josh Earnest said the vice president requested the health screening following a conversation he had with senior staffers at the Office of Management and Budget.
The news about the lesion was first reported Thursday night by Roll Call.