Justice Ginsburg receiving post-surgery treatments

Chemotherapy, radiation `precautionary,' she says

January 15, 2000|By Lyle Denniston | Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been receiving chemotherapy and radiation as a follow-up to surgery last fall for colon cancer, her office disclosed yesterday.

She said the treatments began in October and will continue through June, and are "precautionary" and "have not affected my schedule at the court."

The 66-year-old justice has been on the bench each day during the court's current term, which began in early October. She also has continued with public appearances outside the Supreme Court.

She said yesterday that her surgery in September was complete and successful, but that a doctor at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center in New York recommended that she have the added treatment.

"Following the treatments," she said, "it is anticipated that I will require only routine examinations to assure my continuing good health."

After her surgery, Ginsburg said the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes and was in an early stage when the tumor was removed.

Cancer surgeon Dr. Michael Chotti of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine said chemotherapy and radiation are not ad- ministered solely to stop a spreading cancer.

Rather, he said, those methods sometimes are used to provide an extra margin of safety after the removal of a localized tumor.

Chotti said he was not familiar with Ginsburg's case, but he noted that doctors seldom recommend radiation for patients after colon cancer surgery.

Sun staff writer Jonathan Bor contributed to this article.

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