Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Undergoes More Cancer Treatment

Tyra Hilliard
Staff Writer

PC: Flickr

Beginning on Aug. 5 after a cancerous tumor was located on her pancreas, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s spent 21 days undergoing rounds of radiation treatment that was completed at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. In addition to radiation, a stent was inserted into Ginsburg’s bile duct. 

Within the last 20 years of the 86-year-old’s life, cancer has appeared and been treated in various forms and stages. This diagnosis and treatment came less than a year after Ginsburg was operated on for lung cancer in Dec. 2018. Currently, doctors report that there are no signs of the disease anywhere else in the body according to the results from testing.

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg today completed a three-week course of stereotactic ablative radiation therapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The focused radiation treatment began on August 5 and was administered on an outpatient basis to treat a tumor on her pancreas,” said a statement issued by the Supreme Court. “The abnormality was first detected after a routine blood test in early July, and a biopsy performed on July 31 at Sloan Kettering confirmed a localized malignant tumor.” 

The statement continued by explaining that Ginsburg’s treatment was successful, eliminating any cancer in her body. Regular tests will continue and Ginsburg has returned to her famously active lifestyle.

The “stereotactic ablative radiation” used in Ginsburg’s treatment is a new addition to the options available for cancer patients. “

That is the cutting-edge new cancer treatment, but it is not a cure for a pancreatic mass,” said Dr. Timothy Cannon, gastrointestinal oncology specialist at Inova Schar Cancer Institute in Virginia. Cannon was not involved in the Justice’s treatment.

Cannon has also raised questions about the tumor itself. 

“The mystery is what kind of cancer this is,” asked Cannon. “Is it a slow-growing metastases 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?”

Upon leaving the United States to travel to France for the G-7 meeting, President Donald Trump offered his own words. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her,” said Trump. “We wish her well. She’s strong, she’s tough. She’s pulled through a lot.”

Before undergoing another round of radiation, Ginsburg attended an interview with NPR

“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, said Ginsburg. “That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I am very much alive.”

Within the three weeks that her treatment was conducted, Ginsburg maintained her livelihood. She spent her evenings at the movies, the opera and even at an off-Broadway theater called “Stage 42.” During a showing of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, the crowd got wind that Ginsburg was in attendance and during the intermission and erupted into applause for several minutes to honor her.

Actress Kate McKinnon, who often portrays Ginsburg on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, was also in attendance and the pair were captured in photos hand-in-hand for the very first time. 

Ginsburg has also maintained an upbeat work ethic and was even caught window shopping and trying on shoes and articles of clothing. To date, Ginsburg has 11 communal events planned and has not cancelled a single one.

On the first Monday in October, the Supreme court returns for a new term, but the justices are set to return to a regular work routine in September. Trump has added two conservative justices to the court since his election, which will more than likely result in a five-justice conservative majority ruling in most polemic cases. 

In the event that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaves the court before the 2020 election or following inauguration, it was made clear by Republican Mitch McConnell that the GOP will immediately fill the vacant seat. This would up the conversative majority to 6-to-3, promising a consersative stance in the court for decades.

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