Her first bout with cancer was in February 2009, when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was diagnosed with a tumor in her pancreas. Ginsburg, who was 75-years old at the time, had her spleen and part of her pancreas removed after a routine CAT scan showed a lesion, measuring about 1 centimeter across, in the center of her pancreas.

Ginsburg’s next bout with cancer was only eight months ago when she was diagnosed and treated for lung cancer. Today, it was announced that once again, the 86-year-old, far-left Supreme Court Justice has been successfully treated for a cancerous tumor on her pancreas. According to a statement made by the Supreme Court, Ginsburg is showing no evidence of cancer elsewhere in her body.

Shortly before her treatments began, Ginsburg sat down with the far left NPR, where she joked about the death of a Republican Senator who once told a crowd Justice Ginsburg would be dead in nine months, following her first pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

From Ginsburg’s NPR interview – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has just completed three weeks of radiation treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the U.S. Supreme Court disclosed Friday.

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The radiation therapy, conducted on an outpatient basis, began Aug. 5, shortly after a localized cancerous tumor was discovered on Ginsburg’s pancreas. The treatment included the insertion of a stent in Ginsburg’s bile duct, according to a statement issued by the court.

Doctors at Sloan Kettering said further tests showed no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. The treatment comes just months after Ginsburg was operated on for lung cancer last December. The 86-year-old justice has been treated for cancer in various forms over the past 20 years.

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The Supreme Court’s statement refers to “stereotactic ablative radiation.” Dr. Timothy Cannon, a gastrointestinal oncology specialist at Inova Schar Cancer Institute in Virginia who was not involved in Ginsburg’s treatment, said, “That is the cutting-edge new cancer treatment, but it is not a cure for a pancreatic mass.”

The statement from the court does not say what type of tumor it is. “The mystery is what kind of cancer this is,” Cannon said. “Is it slow-growing metastasis of her lung cancer? Is it a recurrence of her pancreatic cancer from 10 years ago, or is it a new cancer in someone predisposed to getting cancer?”

Shortly before her new round of treatment, Ginsburg sat for an interview with NPR, and her resilience was on full display.

“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 said. “That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I,” she added with a smile, “am very much alive.”


The senator Ginsburg joked about being dead to the NPR reporter, was Kentucky State Senator Jim Bunning (R), who told a group at the Hardin Co. Kentucky GOP Lincoln Day Dinner that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had cancer, and would be dead within “nine months.”

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