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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg undergoes cancer treatment for pancreatic tumor

Key Points
  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has completed a three-week course of radiation therapy for cancer, the top court said in a statement Friday.
  • The treatment, for a tumor on her pancreas, began Aug. 5 and was administered on an outpatient basis.
  • No further treatment is needed, according to the court, and Ginsburg "tolerated the treatment well." 
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg poses for the official photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on November 30, 2018.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has completed a three-week course of radiation therapy for cancer, the high court said in a statement Friday.

The treatment, for a tumor on her pancreas, began Aug. 5 and was administered on an outpatient basis.

No further treatment is needed, according to the court, and Ginsburg "tolerated the treatment well."

"The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body," the court said.

Ginsburg, 86, has had several bouts of cancer and underwent surgery late last year to remove a growth from her lung.

After Ginsburg's surgery in December, the Clinton-appointee missed the first oral arguments in her 25-year tenure. She returned to the bench in February.

The justice underwent surgery for colon cancer in 1999 and in 2009 for pancreatic cancer. Both cancers were detected at an early stage.

The health of the liberal justice has become a matter of national concern because of the implications that her death or retirement could have on the partisan makeup of the nation's most powerful judicial body.

President Donald Trump has appointed two conservatives to the nine-member panel, which now has a reliable majority of five Republican appointees.

Ginsburg has said she has no intention of retiring anytime soon, and joked about the attention on her health during an interview with NPR published last month.

"There was a senator, I think it was after my pancreatic cancer, who announced, with great glee, that I was going to be dead within six months. That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now dead himself," she told NPR. "And I am very much alive."

Ginsburg's treatment was performed at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

The full statement from the court is below:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg today completed a three-week course of stereotactic ablative radiation therapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The focused radiation treatment began on August 5 and was administered on an outpatient basis to treat a tumor on her pancreas. The abnormality was first detected after a routine blood test in early July, and a biopsy performed on July 31 at Sloan Kettering confirmed a localized malignant tumor. As part of her treatment, a bile duct stent was placed. The Justice tolerated treatment well. She cancelled her annual summer visit to Santa Fe, but has otherwise maintained an active schedule. 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.

— CNBC's Marty Steinberg contributed to this report.

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