Near the beginning of his second term in 1893, Grover Cleveland faced two major issues. Nationally, the country was entering a depression. Personally, a bump in his mouth had formed, grown and was diagnosed as oral cancer. To prevent nationwide panic Cleveland decided to have surgery secretly.
On June 30, Cleveland boarded the yacht of a friend in New York Harbor with a team of six doctors. In a 90-minute surgery the next day, surgeons removed the cancerous tumor, five teeth and part of his upper left jaw. The surgery was conducted through the Presidents mouth to avoid scars. Cleveland sat in a chair attached to the mast of the ship. His only anesthesia was laughing gas and ether. The surgery left him disfigured. Four days later, Cleveland got off the yacht in Cape Cod and finished recovering at his summer home. He was later fitted with a rubber prosthetic that corrected his speak and restored his appearance.