Ruth Bader Ginsburg Treated for Pancreas Tumor

By | August 24, 2019

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been successfully treated for a tumor on her pancreas, according to an announcement today from the Supreme Court of the United States.

The statement says that Ginsburg just finished a three-week course of radiation therapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The focused radiation treatment began on August 5 and was administered on an outpatient basis.

“The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body,” the statement reads. “No further treatment is needed at this time.”

Ginsburg was treated for colon cancer in 1999 and for very early stage pancreatic cancer in 2009. In December 2018, she underwent surgery to remove part of her left lung after early-stage nodules were found during an operation to repair broken ribs resulting from a fall at her office.

The recent pancreas tumor was detected after a routine blood test and biopsy in July. Cancer often spreads, or metastasizes, from one part of the body to another, and it is not clear whether this tumor originated in the pancreas or spread from elsewhere.

As the oldest justice at age 86, Ginsburg’s health is closely watched because her replacement by a conservative judge would further shift the SCOTUS majority on issues such as reproductive choice.

Ginsburg tolerated the latest treatment well, according to today’s announcement. Although she canceled her annual summer visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico, she has otherwise maintained an active schedule, including attending a performance of Fiddler on the Roof at New York’s National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.

National Public Radio (NPR) reports that Ginsburg has 11 public events planned for September and has not canceled any of them. The Supreme Court is set to open a new term in early October.

Ginsberg will continue to receive regular blood tests and scans to monitor for tumor recurrence, as is typically recommended for cancer survivors.

“There was a senator, I think it was after my pancreatic cancer, who announced, with great glee, that I was going to be dead within six months,” Ginsburg recalled in an NPR interview in July. “That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I am very much alive.”


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