12/19/2006 at 07:00 AM EST
First Lady Laura Bush had a skin cancer tumor removed from her right shin early last month, the White House acknowledged after her bandage was noticed during a Hanukkah reception in the executive mansion Monday.
Explaining the delay in disclosing Mrs. Bush's condition, Susan Whitson, the First Lady's press secretary, told the Associated Press, "This medical procedure was a private matter for Mrs. Bush, but when asked by the media today, we answered the question."
In late October, Mrs. Bush, 60, had a biopsy of a small sore on her leg, which was revealed to be a squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common type of skin cancer, Whitson told Reuters.
Shortly after Election Day on Nov. 7, Whitson said, Mrs. Bush had the small growth – about the size of a nickel – removed from the shin area of her right leg.
"Because of Mrs. Bush's early detection and treatment, the area on her leg is healing well and it has not interrupted her schedule," Whitson said.
Mrs. Bush's tumor was removed under a local anesthetic, said Whitson, who called the treatment "a little surgical procedure. It's no big deal. She detected it early."
Whitson added: "It's healing fine and it has not interrupted her schedule at all." There will be no further treatment, beyond observation, say reports.