Colon polyps are growths in the lining of the colon. Colon polyps themselves are not life-threatening. However, some types of polyps can become cancerous. Because oftentimes there are no symptoms, finding polyps early and removing them is a vital part of colon cancer prevention.
A benign polyp was removed during President Biden’s colonoscopy last week, the White House doctor noted in a memo.
The polyp was a tubular adenoma, which is slow-growing but “thought to be potentially pre-cancerous,” Dr. Kevin O’Connor wrote. A similar polyp was removed in 2008. No further medical action is required for now, although the president will need to repeat a colonoscopy in the future.
Biden’s colonoscopy made headlines as he was put under general anesthesia, which required him to transfer the acting powers of the presidency to Vice President Kamala Harris for 85 minutes, making her the first woman to hold presidential power in the U.S.
The colonoscopy was a part of a broader annual physical. O’Connor said Biden “remains a healthy, vigorous 78-year-old male who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency.”
Biden turned 79 on Saturday.
O’Connor said he had noticed an increase in the frequency of the Biden’s coughing during public speeches, which he attributed to reflux. He also said the president has more stiffness and less fluidity in his gait, but he deemed it typical “wear and tear” from the osteoarthritic changes to the president’s spine.
Biden underwent a “detailed neurologic exam” as part of the physical, in which O’Connor found nothing consistent with neurological disorders.
O’Connor has been the president’s physician for 13 years. The president’s last physical was in 2019, during the presidential campaign.