Ginsburg recuperating at home after surgery for colon cancer; Disease had not spread, court statement says


WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg went home from the hospital yesterday, and the court announced that the colon cancer for which she underwent surgery had not spread.

Ginsburg, 66, had been at the Washington Hospital Center for 11 days. The court's statement did not say when she would return to work, noting that she was "recuperating at home."

Kathleen L. Arberg, the court's spokeswoman, revealed a number of details about Ginsburg's illness and surgery on Sept. 17. She said the colon cancer had reached "stage two," indicating a high survival rate after surgery.

Arberg added that the surgical team involved in the operation removed a small tumor but found no evidence that cancer had spread to lymph nodes. It had "minimally penetrated the outer muscle" of the colon, she said.

Although Arberg did not elaborate, the National Cancer Institute says that "stage two" means that the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes. Standard medical textbooks say that the five-year survival rate is 70 percent or higher when surgery occurs early in stage two.

The cancer, according to Arberg, was unrelated to the abdominal pain Ginsburg had suffered while traveling abroad in July. But that illness did lead to the discovery two weeks ago that Ginsburg had colon cancer.

The surgeon found a separate source for her discomfort last summer, in a perforation away from the site of the tumor, Arberg said.

Pub Date: 9/29/99

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