Mary Butler recovering after cancer surgery

The junior health minister was told she had skin cancer by a doctor she met on a work trip to Brussels
Mary Butler recovering after cancer surgery

Junior health minister Mary Butler is in recovery again at her Waterford home after a second surgery last Thursday.

Junior health minister Mary Butler is recovering after having surgery for skin cancer, she has confirmed.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Ms Butler said she had a procedure in June under local anesthetic to remove cancer from the bridge of her nose but it wasn’t successful.

She is in recovery again at her Waterford home after a second surgery last Thursday.

Ms Butler was awaiting an appointment to see a dermatologist, having been referred by her GP in January.

However, while representing the Government in Brussels on St Patrick’s Day this year, an Irish doctor was among a group she met and asked her if she realised she had a basal cell carcinoma on her nose.

She wanted to wait until the Government had announced the budget to have the second surgery.

She said: “I have a basal cell carcinoma on the nasal bridge, the diagnosis was confirmed in April.

“It’s the first time I had a full anesthetic in my life, on my birthday too last Thursday.

“I had a procedure under local anesthetic in June but unfortunately it wasn’t successful.”

Sun damage

 The Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People said the skin cancer appeared like a spot on her nose that wouldn’t heal.

She said it formed as a result of sun damage in earlier years.

She has a number of stitches on her nose following the invasive surgery and will be working from home for three weeks before returning to the Dáil. She said she was “floored” in the days following the procedure.

Ms Butler said her consultant has told her that he does not believe the cancer has spread elsewhere but she has to wait the results of biopsies.

She said: “I will have results in four weeks’ time but the consultant is very confident that it’s an isolated basal cell carcinoma with no spread.” 

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland, with over 13,000 new cases diagnosed every year.

The National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI) expects this number to double by 2040.

“The importance of a good suncare regime has never been so important now with skin cancer the most common cancer in Ireland,” she added.

Ms Butler was not present at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis on Saturday due to the procedure but said she was delighted to be re-elected as a Vice President of the party.

The Waterford TD is the second politician who has had treatment for cancer in recent days after it was reported the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl was recovering in a Dublin hospital after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer last Thursday.

He said he had discovered he had prostate cancer during the summer after a routine blood test which found he had a high PSA [Prostate Specific Antigen] level and would have to undergo surgery.

He said he is lucky that it doesn’t appear that the cancer has spread, and he has been informed the prognosis is good.

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