Just a few days ago Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized with a fever and underwent a procedure to remove a stent from her bile duct. Today we learn that the Justice has had a recurrence of cancer and has been receiving chemotherapy for it since May. Here’s the statement on her condition released by the court:
On May 19, I began a course of chemotherapy (gemcitabine) to treat a recurrence of cancer. 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 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 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.
The statement says the recurrence of cancer was picked up by a scan in Feburary. In January Ginsburg had given CNN an interview where she announced she was cancer free:
Last year at this time, Ginsburg was recovering from lung cancer surgery and missed several weeks at the court. She finished out the term in June. Soon after, she discovered a cancerous tumor on her pancreas, which was treated in August, and she resumed her active schedule.
Sounding energized and speaking animatedly, she told CNN on Tuesday that her year was off to a fine start: “I’m cancer free. That’s good.”
Today’s announcement marks the 5th time Ginsburg has battled with cancer. She had surgery for colon cancer in 1999. In 2009 she had surgery for early stage pancreatic cancer. In December 2018 she had surgery for lung cancer in which a portion of her lung was removed. Then last summer she was given radiation treatment for pancreatic cancer.
Three bouts with cancer in three years would be a lot for anyone to take but at age 87 it’s pretty remarkable she’s still able to carry on with a demanding job and do it “full steam.” Clearly the latter half of the letter is aimed at reassuring everyone she’s not in danger of resigning before the election. A lot of progressives see themselves as fighting for the cause but few are fighting the battle as personally as RBG. She really has proven to be a tough lady and I wish her a speedy recovery.