Justice Ginsburg to Have Precautionary Chemotherapy

By Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 11:36 AM

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said today that her surgery for pancreatic cancer was successful and that she is scheduled to undergo a precautionary round of chemotherapy starting later this month.

Ginsburg said in a statement issued by the U.S. Supreme Court that her Feb. 5 procedure at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York was "a complete, successful surgical removal of a pancreatic cancer," and that she will start chemotherapy later this month at the National Institutes of Health.

Ginsburg has not missed a session of the court because of the diagnosis -- just as she did not miss any sessions when she battled colon cancer 10 years ago. She said she did not anticipate having to skip any work because of chemotherapy, either.

The justice described the treatment as "a precautionary, post-surgery course of chemotherapy," after which "it is anticipated that I will require only routine examinations to assure my continuing good health."

Speaking to law school students in Boston last week, Ginsburg said that there could be a vacancy on the court "soon," but did not explain the remark. She has made it clear that she is not ready to retire.

Ginsburg, who turned 76 on Sunday, told the students she follows advice from fellow cancer survivor and retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor to keep up with the court's pace.

"She said when you're up to chemotherapy, you do it on Friday, Friday afternoon. You'll get over it over the weekend and you'll be able to come to the court on Monday," Ginsburg said.

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