Saturday, August 24, 2019

The notorious RBG

Is RBG going to die soon? Lots of reassurances from the media that RBG is just fine. However:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has just completed three weeks of radiation treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the U.S. Supreme Court disclosed Friday.

The radiation therapy, conducted on an outpatient basis, began Aug. 5, shortly after a localized cancerous tumor was discovered on Ginsburg's pancreas. The treatment included the insertion of a stent in Ginsburg's bile duct, according to a statement issued by the court.


At least to my knowledge (an oncologist can correct me):

  1. Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) affiliated with Cornell University is one of our nation's premier cancer centers. Alongside Dana Farber (DF) affiliated with Harvard and MD Anderson (MDA) affiliated with the University of Texas-Houston. Thankfully we have many reputable cancer centers, but MSK, DF, and MDA are probably the three most prestigious cancer centers in the United States. RBG is getting the best treatment, I guess! At least she's getting treatment from renowned super specialized academic oncologists.

  2. Some pancreatic cancers are resectable, i.e., able to be surgically removed (via a Whipple procedure). However, some pancreatic cancers are non-resectable. These pancreatic cancers are treated using endoscopic stenting +/- chemotherapy +/- radiotherapy.

  3. There's a distinction primary tumors/cancers vs. secondary tumors/cancers. A primary cancer refers to the original type and site of cancer, while a secondary cancer refers to where the primary cancer has spread. For example, take a breast cancer. A breast cancer that originates in the breast is a primary breast cancer. However, the breast cancer can spread (metastasize). If the breast cancer spreads to the lungs, then the breast cancer is the primary cancer, but the lung cancer is a secondary cancer from the original breast cancer. Oncologists or pathologists can look at the cancer cells in the lungs and see that they are not lung cancer cells but breast cancer cells that spread to the lungs.

  4. If RBG has a primary pancreatic cancer, then it sounds like RBG has a non-resectable pancreatic cancer.

  5. If so, and even if her pancreatic cancer hasn't metastasized, but is localized, the median survival of a non-resectable locally advanced pancreatic cancer is approximately 8-12 months. If so, then, contrary to what the media reports, RBG may not be long for the world.

    Not to mention she's already in her mid-80s.

  6. To be fair, there are some questions that if answered would give us a clearer idea of where RBG is, but they remain unanswered. Another oncologist in the same article points out:

    "The mystery is what kind of cancer this is," Cannon said. "Is it a slow-growing metastases of her lung cancer? Is it a recurrence of her pancreatic cancer from 10 years ago or is it a new cancer in someone predisposed to getting cancer?"

1 comment:

  1. She needs to retire now. She should have years ago.