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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Has Lung Cancer Surgery

FRIDAY, Dec. 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery for lung cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City on Friday.

"Two nodules in the lower lobe of her left lung were discovered incidentally during tests performed at George Washington University Hospital to diagnose and treat rib fractures sustained in a fall on November 7," court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg said in a statement.

According to thoracic surgeon Dr. Valerie Rusch, both nodules removed during surgery were found to be malignant.

However, "post-surgery, there was no evidence of any remaining disease. Scans performed before surgery indicated no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. Currently, no further treatment is planned," Arberg said.

"Justice Ginsburg is resting comfortably and is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days. Updates will be provided as they become available," Arberg added.

Neither injuries nor cancer have stopped Ginsburg from working in the past. After breaking two ribs in 2012, she never missed a day of work. That same year, she returned to work quickly after having a heart procedure performed, according to The New York Times.

Not only that, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009 and returned to work less than three weeks after having the tumor removed, ABC News reported at the time.

One doctor unconnected to the case said that, based on what has been communicated so far, Ginsburg's prognosis looks "great."

"She has no evidence of disease anywhere else and appears to be grossly cancer free," said Dr. Raja Flores, chair and professor of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

"If this is spread from the pancreas then this appears to be very slowly moving, since her pancreatic surgery was a decade ago. She should do fine," he said. "She should be back at work soon."

A history of bouncing back from setbacks hasn't eased the nerves of liberals who worry about how much longer Ginsburg can serve, as the balance of the Supreme Court shifts to the right with President Donald Trump's two recent appointees, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

Ginsburg was first appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by former President Bill Clinton. She is the oldest justice on the court.

Ginsburg has consistently fought for women's rights. In 1971, she helped launch the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She served as the ACLU's general counsel from 1973 to 1980.

In recent years, Ginsburg gained social media popularity with her own nickname, "Notorious R.B.G." She was also the subject of a recent documentary, and a movie has been made about her life.

Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1933, according to the U.S. Supreme Court website. She married Martin Ginsburg, and together they had a daughter and a son. She received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University, and attended Harvard and Columbia law schools.

More information

Visit the American Cancer Society for more on lung cancer.

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