Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Liver Cancer Spotted in February; Chemotherapy Started in May

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been undergoing chemotherapy for “recurrence of cancer” for the last several weeks, she revealed in a statement on Friday.

“On May 19, I began a course of chemotherapy (gemcitabine) to treat a recurrence of cancer,” the 87-year-old justice said in a statement. “A periodic scan in February followed by a biopsy revealed lesions on my liver. My recent hospitalizations to remove gall stones and treat an infection were unrelated to this recurrence.”

“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 update,” she continued.

Ginsburg said her most recent scan, taken July 7, indicated “significant reduction of the liver lesions and no new disease.” She said she is tolerating the treatment “well” and is “encouraged by the success” of her 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,” she continued, assuring the public that she intends to continue to serve on the Court.

“I have often said I would remain a member of the Court as long as I can do the job full steam,” Ginsburg said. “I remain fully able to do that”:

However, as the East Bay Times notes, “Friday’s statement indicates that the pancreatic cancer Ginsburg was treated for in 2009 has returned again, this time in her liver, and that she tried one of the new immunotherapies for cancer, but it failed to shrink the tumors. It is not liver cancer.”

Ginsburg was hospitalized last week for a possible infection and “underwent an endoscopic procedure at Johns Hopkins … to clean out a bile duct stent that was placed last August,” court spokesperson Kathleen Arberg announced last week.

The Supreme Court justice has battled with her health in the last several years and has beaten cancer on more than one occasion. She had lung surgery in December 2018 to address lung cancer and underwent radiation therapy last year following the discovery of a cancerous tumor on her pancreas.


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