Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has completed treatment to remove a malignant tumor from her pancreas.
Ginsburg has been secretly undergoing treatment the last three weeks after initially finding a tumor during a routine blood work visit.
The Associated Press reports “there is no evidence of the disease remaining.”
It is the fourth time that the 86-year-old justice has announced that she has been treated for cancer over the last two decades and follows lung cancer surgery in December that kept her away from the court for weeks. December’s surgery was her first illness-related absence from the court since being appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and prompted even closer attention to her health.
As the court’s oldest member, Ginsburg has been asked questions for years about her health and retirement plans. She has also in recent years attracted particularly enthusiastic fans as the leader of the liberal wing of the court, which includes four members appointed by Democratic presidents and five by Republicans. Both liberals and conservatives watch her health closely because it’s understood the court would shift right for decades if President Donald Trump were to get the ability to nominate someone to replace her.
According to the report, the Supreme Court revealed in a statement that the cancer was first found after a routine blood test. She began treatment on the tumor on August 5, keeping it a secret until Ginsburg finished her treatment.
The Supreme Court did not clarify if the tumor was a continuation of the pancreatic cancer Ginsburg was diagnosed with in 2009.
The Associated Press adds:
Ginsburg underwent three weeks of radiation therapy and as part of her treatment had a bile duct stent placed, the court said. Ginsburg “tolerated treatment well” and does not need any additional treatment but will continue to have periodic blood tests and scans, the statement said.
“It’s certainly not unheard of for the cancer to come back,” but it’s a more dire situation if it’s that rather than a new tumor that was found early enough for effective treatment, said Dr. Michael Pishvaian, a pancreatic specialist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center who had no firsthand knowledge of Ginsburg’s care.
Pancreatic tumors are usually treated with surgery, but she or her doctors may have chosen not to do that for various reasons, and radiation is a standard treatment if surgery is not done, Pishvaian said.
President Trump is aware of the situation and commented that Ginsburg was “strong” and “very tough.”
“I’m hoping she’s going to be fine. She’s been through a lot. She’s strong. She’s very tough. But we wish her well. Very well,” Trump said per the report.