Gov. Brown Has Surgery

By JULIET WILLIAMS
|  Sunday, May 1, 2011  |  Updated 10:00 AM PDT
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Brown Has Cancerous Growth Removed

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SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 03: Jerry Brown pauses as he delivers remarks after he was sworn in as the 39th governor of California by California on January 3, 2011 in Sacramento, California. Jerry Brown will begin his third term as California's governor 28 years after serving his last term. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown has undergone surgery to remove a cancerous growth on his nose, his office said Saturday.

The governor's office said in a statement that Brown, 73, had the procedure under local anesthetic Friday, after tests revealed the presence of basal cell carcinoma, a common, slow-growing form of skin cancer, on the right side of his nose.

"All of the basal carcinoma cells were removed, but some reconstructive surgery to the nose was required as a result of the procedure," his office said. "Governor Brown is at home and has continued to conduct state business today."

Brown had the surgery in the office of Dr. David Paslin, said Gil Duran, a spokesman for the governor.

"The growth was completely removed and repair was done," Paslin said in a statement. "The patient did very well with no complications. Governor Brown is doing just fine."

The procedure the governor underwent was known as Mohs, or micrographic surgery, in which a doctor can tell even before they close the wound that all the cancerous cells have been removed, according to Dr. Christopher Zachary, professor and chairman of the department of dermatology at the University of California, Irvine.

Zachary said basal cell carcinoma is the least dangerous form of skin cancer.

"Basal cell carcinoma occurs in hundreds of thousands of Americans every year," he said.

Another former California governor, President Ronald Reagan, also had a basal cell removed from his nose.

When public leaders have such procedures, "they're often quite cautious about what they release. The public gets a bit skittish about leaders having cancer," said Zachary. "I can just reassure the public that basal cell carcinoma does not spread into the bloodstream and it is rare to cause serious problems."

The governor was scheduled to address delegates at the state Democratic Party convention Sunday, but the statement said he won't attend any public events until his stitches are removed.

Zachary said basal cell carcinoma can cause serious deformities when it is on the nose, but the best outcome comes from micrographic surgery of the type Brown had.

Stitches are typically removed after about seven days, he said.

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