Ginsburg Has Pancreatic Cancer Surgery

The health woes of our sole remaining female Justice continue:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had surgery Thursday after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the court said.

Ginsburg, 75, had the surgery at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She will remain in the hospital for seven to 10 days, said her surgeon, Dr. Murray Brennan, according to a release issued by the court.

The court announcement said the cancer is apparently in the early stages.

In 1999, Ginsburg, had surgery for colon cancer and had chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She has been a justice since 1993.

Let’s hope they caught it in time.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Drew says:

    Well, that is simply a tragedy. People may not know, its really one of the worst diagnoses you could receive.

    There are basically two forms. And survival rates for the worst form are measured in months, if not weeks. The other form is only marginally better. Maybe you get a year to 18 months.

    Best hopes to the Justice.

  2. Eneils Bailey says:

    This is bad stuff.
    Hope she and her family does well.

    I have never agreed with her decisions or votes on the SC bench.
    But, you can put all that aside in the face of personal illness.

    We can disagree about legal and political issues, but, we all can hope and pray for one another about health issues.

  3. tom p says:

    A friend of mine had some back pain and was dianosed with Pancreatic cancer, they gave him one month. He tied up some loose ends, and then took that long delayed dream trip to Mexico with his sons.

    He died there.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    Let’s hope they caught it in time.

    James, there is no “in time” for pancreatic cancer. The 5 year survival rate is about 5%. The only likely surgical intervention for pancreatic cancer is the Whipple procedure (it’s been rumored that Steve Jobs has had that).

    That’s a fairly drastic surgical intervention. It consists in removing half of the stomach, the gall bladder, part of the common bile duct, the head of the pancreas, the duodenum, proximal jejunum, and adjacent lymph nodes. Basically, they cut you open and remove a good chunk of your digestive system.

    It’s sad that anyone should have to go through this and the justice has my deepest sympathy and good wishes.

    Much of Justice Ginsburg’s energy will be devoted to her treatment and making whatever preparations she must for her death.

  5. Drew says:

    Follow up:

    Apparently this was found on routine annual screen. A 1 centimeter tumor. (That’s small for size at diagnosis.) The problem with pancreatic cancer is that generally by the time it becomes symptomatic the damage is already done: metastatic disease. Evil disease.

    She may be lucky. For her, and her sphere of loved ones, we hope.

  6. Drew says:

    Dave S:

    See my comment at 5:13. She may have caught lightning in a bottle.

    Else, all you cited is true. Ghastly.