No evidence of disease remains after treatment for cancerous tumor on justices pancreas
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has completed a three-week course of radiation therapy for a cancerous tumor on her pancreas and there is no evidence of the disease remaining, the supreme court said Friday.
The treatment commenced on 5 August after a localized tumor was found on the 86-year-olds pancreas. Doctors say there is no evidence the disease has spread elsewhere.
The Justice tolerated treatment well, the statement says. No further treatment is needed at this time.
The treatment comes only a few months after Ginsburg was operated on for lung cancer last December. She has battled other forms of cancer over the past two decades but has continued to fulfill her duties on Americas highest judicial body.
It is the fourth time that the justice has announced that she has been treated for cancer. Decembers surgery was her first illness-related absence from the court since being appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993 and prompted even closer attention on her health.
Ginsburg is the oldest member of the courts four-justice liberal bloc. The court is currently split on a 5-4 conservative majority as Donald Trump has appointed two conservative justices during his tenure.
As the courts oldest member, Ginsburg has been asked questions for years about her health and how long she plans to stay on the court, even as shes attracted enthusiastic fans as the leader of the liberal wing. Both liberals and conservatives watch her health closely because its understood the court would shift right for decades if Trump were to get the ability to nominate someone to replace her.
The court did not disclose Ginsburg was being treated for a tumor until the treatment was complete. It said on Friday that a biopsy performed on 31 July confirmed a localized malignant tumor. Ginsburg underwent a three-week course of radiation therapy and as part of her treatment had a bile duct stent placed, it said.
The court said Ginsburg tolerated treatment well and did not need any additional treatment but would continue to have periodic blood tests and scans.
The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body, the court said.
Dr Alan Venook, a University of California, San Francisco, pancreatic cancer specialist who has no direct knowledge of Ginsburgs case, said it was not possible to know much about her outlook without details from her doctors.
If it is a recurrence that took a decade to form, that tells me its not a very aggressive cancer, he said. If the cancer is truly limited to the pancreas, it could have been managed perfectly well with radiation, he said.
The court said Ginsburg canceled an annual summer visit to Santa Fe but otherwise maintained an active schedule during treatment. She is scheduled to speak in Buffalo next week and at the Library of Congress national book festival in Washington at the end of the month.