Justice Ginsburg Has Cancer Surgery; Pancreatic Tumor Found Early

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 6, 2009 | Go to article overview

Justice Ginsburg Has Cancer Surgery; Pancreatic Tumor Found Early


Byline: Ben Conery, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court's only woman and one of its most liberal members, is battling the early stages of a particularly deadly form of cancer.

Justice Ginsburg, 75, underwent surgery Thursday at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City for pancreatic cancer, according to the Supreme Court.

Spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in a statement that Dr. Murray Brennan, Justice Ginsburg's attending physician, expected her to remain in the hospital for a week to 10 days.

That time frame would allow Justice Ginsburg to return to the bench when the court's winter recess ends Feb. 23. Appointed to the bench by President Clinton in 1993, she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999 but never missed a day of court sessions while receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Ms. Arberg said Justice Ginsburg, the second woman appointed to the court, plans to keep two speaking engagements in mid-March in Massachusetts.

Few details were released about either Justice Ginsburg's illness or her prognosis.

According to the Supreme Court, she had no symptoms before a CT scan revealed a

small tumor, about 1 centimeter across, in the center of her pancreas during a routine annual checkup in late January at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.

Pancreatic cancer is especially insidious. The American Cancer Society predicted for 2008 that about 37,680 people in the U.S. would be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and about 34,290 people would die of the disease. Less than 4 percent of pancreatic cancer patients live more than five years after their diagnosis.

But the odds are better for people who are diagnosed early, which apparently Justice Ginsburg was.

The five-year survival rate for patients whose cancer is diagnosed in the earliest stages is 37 percent, according to the cancer society.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Thursday afternoon that he spoke with the president about Justice Ginsburg, but that Mr. …

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Justice Ginsburg Has Cancer Surgery; Pancreatic Tumor Found Early
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