Ruth Bader Ginsburg Gives Health Update After Undergoing Cancer Treatment Twice in 2019

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is feeling good, sharing that she's cancer free after undergoing treatment for cancer twice in 2019. Speaking to CNN in an interview this week, the Supreme Court justice revealed that she is looking forward to 2020, saying, "I'm cancer free. That's good."

ruth bader ginsburg
(Photo: Getty / Gilbert Carrasquillo)

Last January, Bader Ginsburg was recovering from lung cancer surgery, which she underwent in December 2018 to have two malignant modules removed from her left lung. The recovery caused her to miss a Supreme Court session for the first time since her appointment in 1993 when she was absent from oral arguments. The 86-year-old finished the term in June before discovering a cancerous tumor on her pancreas, which was treated in August with a three-week radiation treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Center in New York City.

She has since resumed her schedule and in December became the first non-philosopher to win the 2019 Berggruen Prize. The $1 million prize is awarded to "thinkers whose ideas have profoundly shaped human self-understanding and advancement in a rapidly changing world," and Bader Ginsburg donated her winnings to a list of charities that support girls and women, societal causes and the arts.

All told, Bader Ginsburg is a four-time cancer survivor, having previously battled cancer twice, colon cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009. In 2012, she fell and broke two ribs, was hospitalized in 2009 after a negative reaction to medication, and in 2014, she underwent a procedure to have a stent implanted due to a blocked artery. In November 2018, she suffered a fall that caused her to be hospitalized, though she was released one day later.

Democrats have kept a watchful eye on Bader Ginsburg's health since the election of Donald Trump, who has appointed two conservative justices to the Supreme Court — Neil Gorsuch, who replaced Antonin Scalia after his death and Brett Kavanaugh, who replaced Anthony M. Kennedy after Kennedy's retirement in 2018. Kennedy was often considered the swing vote in controversial decisions.


"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," Bader Ginsburg said last year in an interview with National Public Radio. "That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I am very much alive."

Photo Credit: Getty / Gilbert Carrasquillo