U.S. Supreme Court - The FindLaw U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Summaries Blog

Justice Ginsburg Has Malignant Cancer Removed From Her Lung

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had cancerous growths surgically removed from her lung Friday, and she is expected to recover fully after a few days in the hospital.

In a press release, the U.S. Supreme Court said the nodules were discovered after the Justice fell and broke her ribs in November. The nodules were malignant, but there was "no evidence of the disease elsewhere in her body."

It is the third time Ginsburg has battled cancer. Each time, the notorious one has won.

Notorious RBG

The "Notorious RBG," 85, is a living legend on the Supreme Court. In addition to being its oldest member, she is the most popular.

Filmmakers made two movies about her this year. One is a documentary, RBG, and the other is a full-length feature film. On the Basis of Sex, starring Felicity Jones as "Kiki" Ginsburg, opens on Christmas Day.

The story of her life is filled with challenges, including three bouts with cancer. She had colon cancer 25 years ago, and pancreatic cancer a decade ago.

Lung cancer, which led to the surgery in New York City, is the leading cause of cancer death for adults in the United States. Because it is usually diagnosed at an advance stage, the five-year survival rate is 18 percent.

A Lucky Fall

Ginsburg fell in her office on Nov. 7, but went home and felt discomfort overnight. The next day, doctors examined her and found she had three broken ribs.

It was fortunate, however, because exams also revealed the cancer growing in her left lung. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist, told USA Today that most lung cancer is discovered at an advanced stage.

"If you get it early, you've got a very good survival rate," he said. "Everything depends upon the stage of lung cancer."

For her part, Ginsburg didn't let the broken ribs or the cancer diagnosis slow her down. After the fall, she was back to work before she left the hospital.

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