News and Commentary

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Being Treated For Cancer
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in a discussion at the Georgetown University Law Center on February 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. Justice Ginsburg and U.S. Appeals Court Judge McKeown discussed the 19th Amendment which guaranteed women the right to vote which was passed 100 years ago. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been undergoing chemotherapy to treat a “reoccurrence of cancer” since May.

The 87-year-old Supreme Court justice confirmed her diagnosis and treatment in a statement released on Friday. Ginsburg said that she is managing well under the treatment and can still fulfill her duties as a justice “full steam.”

She said that her chemotherapy treatment is “yielding positive results” and has caused a “significant reduction” in lesions found on her liver. She will continue to receive bi-weekly treatments and is able to maintain an “active daily routine” in addition to her normal work for the Supreme Court.

Ginsburg’s full statement says:

On May 19, I began a course of chemotherapy (gemcitabine) to treat a reoccurrence of cancer. A periodic scan in February followed by a biopsy revealed lesions on my liver. My recent hospitalization to remove gall stones and treat and infection were unrelated to this reoccurrence.

Immunotherapy first essayed proved unsuccessful. The chemotherapy course, however, is yielding positive results. Satisfied that my treatment course is now clear, I am providing this information.

My most recent scan on July 7 indicated significant reduction of the liver lesions and no new disease. I am tolerating chemotherapy well and am encouraged by the success of my current treatment. I will continue bi-weekly chemotherapy to keep my cancer at bay, and am able to maintain an active daily routine. Throughout, I have kept up with opinion writing and all other Court work.

I have often said that I would remain a member of the court as long as I can do the job full steam. I remain fully able to do that.

Ginsburg has fought reoccurring bouts of cancer since 1999 when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She underwent surgery for early-stage pancreatic cancer in 2009 and in 2018, she had surgery again to remove two cancerous nodules that had appeared on her left lung. Her most recent cancer treatment happened last year when she underwent three weeks of radiation therapy after a tumor appeared on her pancreas.

She was diagnosed with her most recent bout of cancer just weeks after overcoming her last bout. In January, Ginsburg had announced that she was starting 2020 “cancer free.”

Ginsburg was hospitalized on Tuesday at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for an infection following an operation to remove gallstones, as she noted in her statement. She was released from the hospital on Wednesday.

“Justice Ginsburg was admitted to the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland early this morning for treatment of a possible infection. She was initially evaluated at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. last night after experiencing fever and chills,” the Supreme Court said in a Tuesday statement.

“She underwent an endoscopic procedure at Johns Hopkins this afternoon to clean out a bile duct stent that was placed last August,” the statement continued. “The Justice is resting comfortably and will stay in the hospital for a few days to receive intravenous antibiotic treatment.”

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