Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's fractured ribs led to discovery of lung cancer

Posted December 22, 2018

The 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice underwent surgery to remove two cancerous nodules in her left lung on Friday morning. She went on to say that she had resumed her vaunted fitness regiment with her personal trainer after fracturing three ribs in a November fall at her chambers in the Supreme Court.

A thoracic surgeon said the "nodules removed during surgery were found to be malignant on initial pathology evaluation", the statement read, adding that now, there is "no evidence of any remaining disease".

"If she doesn't need anything but the surgery, it is a very good sign", said Dr. John Lazar, director of thoracic robotic surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. "Post-surgery, there was no evidence of any remaining disease", the court's public information office said.

She became a Supreme Court Justice in 1993. According to NPR, when Ginsburg had a CT scan, doctors noticed something was amiss with her lungs.

In Ginsburg's case, the malignant modules were identified after she underwent testing for the three broken ribs she suffered from a fall on November 7. The news release suggests that these malignant growths may not have been caught had Ginsburg not fallen, as the nodules were "discovered incidentally".

"Currently, no further treatment is planned", the court said.

If the justice hadn't fractured her ribs, Liu said, it's possible that doctors wouldn't have found the nodules and that they might have gotten larger. In 1999, she was treated for colorectal cancer; in 2009, it was pancreatic cancer and, now, lung cancer. In 2014, she underwent a procedure to have a stent implanted to open a blocked coronary artery.

The court's oldest justice, Ginsburg - fondly known as "The Notorious RBG", a riff on slain rapper The Notorious B.I.G. - is a liberal stalwart who has said she will not retire as long as she feels she can do the work.

"Her surgeon is one of the best in the country".

January 26, 2007 - In a speech at Suffolk Law School, she says she dislikes being the only woman on the Supreme Court. She was discharged from the hospital the following day. She rebuffed suggestions from some liberals that she should step down in the first two years of President Barack Obama's second term, when Democrats also controlled the Senate. She has recently told reporters that she does not plan on retiring until the age of 90.