(NBC News) Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently underwent a fresh round of treatment for a cancerous tumor on her pancreas, the high court said in a statement Friday.
The three-week radiation treatment, performed at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, was administered after doctors discovered a “localized malignant tumor” on her pancreas on July 31, the statement said.
The treatment — called stereotactic ablative radiation therapy — was administered in an outpatient setting for a three-week period that began Aug. 5. Doctors also inserted a bile duct stent as part of the treatment, which Ginsburg completed Friday, the court said.
In the statement, the court said that Ginsburg “tolerated treatment well” and that “no further treatment is needed at this time.”
“The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body,” the court said. “Justice Ginsburg will continue to have periodic blood tests and scans.”
Elder Patriot’;s Opinion, Analysis and Speculation – That may be the discreet way of saying that there’s little more that can be done for the 86-year-old Supreme Court Justice.
While NBC News reported that there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body, they didn’t say she had no evidence of cancer in her pancreas.
In fact, according to healthline.com, the insertion of a stent generally indicates an effort to mitigate the effects of an inoperable tumor:
The liver normally releases a substance called bile, which helps with digestion. Bile is stored in the gallbladder. It then travels through the common bile duct to the intestines. From there, it’s removed from the body in the stool.
When a tumor blocks the small intestine, bile can build up in the body and cause jaundice.
A stent may be used in these cases to keep the blocked bile duct open so that it can drain. It is not a cure, but rather the insertion is made to relieve patient discomfort.
This may be, but is not definitively indicative of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. If her cancer has advanced to Stage 4 then the outlook for Justice Ginsburg is not encouraging.
Stage 4 pancreatic cancers are often referred as advanced pancreatic cancer. Survival rate of stage 4 pancreatic cancer is less than 5 percent. Through the process of metastasis, the cancerous cells from pancreases travel to other parts of the body.
Survival rate of patient suffering from stage 4 cancer depends on the ratio of spread of carcinogenic cells in other parts of the body.
This is Justice Ginsburg’s second battle with cancer within the last twelve months indicative that the cancer has metastasized.
Late last year Justice Ginsburg underwent a pulmonary lobectomy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center after two nodules in the lower lobe of her left lung were discovered following incidental tests that were administered after she fractured several ribs during a fall in November.
Dr. Brian C. Joondeph admits that he has never examined Justice Ginsburg and he is relying on media reports to speak generally about patients with her medical history:
As a physician, allow me to play doctor here, with the required caveat that I am not Justice Ginsburg’s physician, have not met or diagnosed her, and am only relying on reports from our scrupulously honest and accurate American journalists.
Following that disclaimer, Dr. Joondeph tells us the likelihood is that her cancer had metastasized causing the lung cancer for which she was being treated at the end of last year:
Justice Ginsburg has a history of other cancers, “The justice had colon cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009.” Odds favor that her lung nodules represent metastases from her other cancers rather than a third new cancer originating in her lungs.
Dr Joondeph’s conclusion is bolstered by the new incidence of cancer found in her pancreas last month.
If Ginsburg is unable to execute her duties to the Supreme Court and vacates her seat, expect a blood-letting and histrionics unlike any ever seen before in the history of presidential nominees… for any position.
Should Trump nominate judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill that seat it would mark an ideological shift from left to right to the greatest degree ever seen. Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings will be made to look tame in retrospect.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg has proven to be a resilient warrior in her twenty-year battle against cancer. We offer her our prayers for the iconic Ruth Bader Ginsburg at this time.