On August 23rd, the United States Supreme Court announced that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg completed a three-week course of radiation treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Justice Ginsburg underwent this treatment shortly after a localized malignant tumor was discovered on her pancreas in July. According to a statement from the Supreme Court, the abnormality was first detected after a routine blood test, and a biopsy confirmed the tumor on her pancreas. As part of her treatment, she received a bile duct stent.
“The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. Justice Ginsburg will continue to have periodic blood tests and scans. No further treatment is needed at this time,” according to the Supreme Court’s announcement.
Justice Ginsburg has undergone treatment for multiple cancers in the past. In 1999, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Then, ten years later in February 2009, a tumor on her pancreas was discovered at an early stage, and she had surgery to successfully remove it. Nearly ten years after the surgery for pancreatic cancer, Ginsburg underwent surgery for early stage lung cancer, and now she was treated again for a tumor on her pancreas. Ginsburg’s close monitoring has led to finding her cancers at an early, treatable stage, when there is the greatest chance for a cure.
Recognizing that patients have the best chance for long-term survival when pancreatic cancer is found early, the Lustgarten Foundation has launched a multi-faceted Early Detection Initiative that includes:
- CancerSEEK blood test, which can detect the presence of pancreatic cancer and seven other cancers at an early stage and identify where the cancer originated in the body
- Machine learning to train computers to recognize patterns in medical images, including CT scans and MRIs, to detect pancreatic cancer tumors earlier, when they may be missed by a diagnostician
- Use of artificial intelligence to identify individuals at high risk for pancreatic cancer in the general population
- GENERATE (GENetic Education Risk Assessment and TEsting) study, to improve genetic testing and cancer prevention in family members of pancreatic cancer patients with identified mutations
- Comprehensive Cyst (CompCyst) test to determine if pancreatic cysts, which can be common amongst the general population, can develop into pancreatic cancer or remain as benign cysts
In honor of Justice Ginsburg and everyone impacted by pancreatic cancer, our funded researchers are working relentlessly to ensure that the disease is caught earlier, so that many more patients become long-term survivors. We wish Justice Ginsburg good health as she prepares for the upcoming Supreme Court term.
Boston Herald.com: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has Cancer Scare