June 15, 2021

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she’s being treated for liver cancer, but still working ‘full steam’


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg attends the lunch session of The Women’s Conference in Long Beach, California October 26, 2010.

Mario Anzuoni | Reuters

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in a statement on Friday that she is being treated for liver cancer but that she remains able to work “full steam.”

The 87-year-old said that she began a course of chemotherapy in May to treat a recurrence of cancer after a February scan revealed lesions on her liver. 

“Immunotherapy first essayed proved unsuccessful. The chemotherapy course, however, is yielding positive results. Satisfied that my treatment course is now clear, I am providing this information,” Ginsburg said in the statement. 

Ginsburg, a liberal, is the court’s eldest justice. Her health has become the subject of public concern because a vacancy on the nine-judge panel could allow President Donald Trump to nominate a conservative replacement. The court currently has a 5-4 majority of Republican-appointed justices. 

Ginsburg said her most recent scan was conducted on July 7 and showed “significant reduction of the liver lesions and no new disease.”

“I am tolerating chemotherapy well and am encouraged by the success of my current treatment. I will continue bi-weekly chemotherapy to keep my cancer at bay, and am able to maintain an active daily routine,” Ginsburg said.

She added: “Throughout, I have kept up with opinion writing and all other Court work. I have often said I would remain a member of the Court as long as I can do the job full steam. I remain fully able to do that.”

Ginsburg’s full statement is below.

“On May 19, I began a course of chemotherapy (gemcitabine) to treat a recurrence of cancer. A periodic scan in February followed by a biopsy revealed lesions on my liver. My recent hospitalizations to remove gall stones and treat an infection were unrelated to this recurrence.

Immunotherapy first essayed proved unsuccessful. The chemotherapy course, however, is yielding positive results. Satisfied that my treatment course is now clear, I am providing this information.

My most recent scan on July 7 indicated significant reduction of the liver lesions and no new disease. I am tolerating chemotherapy well and am encouraged by the success of my current treatment. I will continue bi-weekly chemotherapy to keep my cancer at bay, and am able to maintain an active daily routine. Throughout, I have kept up with opinion writing and all other Court work.

I have often said I would remain a member of the Court as long as I can do the job full steam. I remain fully able to do that.”

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s name. 

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