Navigation Links
Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Faces Tough Battle Against Pancreatic Cancer

Experts note high recurrence rate, even when malignancy is found early

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will face tough challenges following her surgery on Thursday for early-stage pancreatic cancer, experts say.

At this point, it's not clear exactly what type of pancreatic cancer Ginsburg has, but the odds suggest pancreatic adenocarcinoma, which accounts for about 85 percent of all cases and is a far deadlier malignancy than neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer.

"The difference [in survival rates] is staggering," said Dr. Aaron Sasson, chief of gastrointestinal surgical oncology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. "The odds are that it's pancreatic adenocarcinoma, but there's a chance that it could be a neuroendocrine tumor."

A 2-centimeter neuroendocrine tumor, once removed surgically, could be considered cured, Sasson said. Ginsburg's tumor was reported to be 1 centimeter across.

Roughly 5 percent of people diagnosed with the more common form of pancreatic cancer will survive five years from diagnosis, according to the American Cancer Society.

Reports surfacing in the media, along with statements from the Supreme Court, suggest that the justice has an early-stage malignancy.

"She was able to have surgery, and only people who are early-stage cases are amenable to surgery, so that's probably true," said Dr. Allyson J. Ocean, an assistant professor of medicine at the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

Even after surgery in the more hopeful cases, however, the cancer has a high recurrence rate, and Ginsburg will likely undergo chemotherapy and radiation.

There again, though, the outlook is grim. "Pancreatic cancer usually responds poorly to our available therapies," Ocean said.

Ginsburg, 75, underwent surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Given the length of the hospital stay (seven to 10 days) and the location of the tumor, she probably underwent a distal pancreatectomy (removal of the end of the pancreas) and likely had her spleen removed as well, Sasson said.

The tumor was apparently found during routine testing that was part of an annual physical.

Ginsburg is a 10-year survivor of colon cancer. The cancers could be connected, but only in a minority of patients, Sasson said.

Ginsburg is not the first high-profile American to be stricken with pancreatic cancer in recent years.

Actor Patrick Swayze was diagnosed a year ago with pancreatic cancer. Meanwhile, speculation is rampant that Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc., has had a recurrence of the less deadly form of the disease.

These high-profile cases don't indicate a rise in the incidence of the disease, which struck some 38,000 people in the United States in 2008, both Sasson and Ocean said.

The only known risk factors are smoking and a family history of the disease, Ocean said.

There are no specific screening protocols in place, which is why so many of these tumors are diagnosed so late.

"They're mostly diagnosed at a late stage because the symptoms don't happen until it's already late," Ocean said. "The symptoms can be very insidious, weight loss over time, vague abdominal pain."

Dr. Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said in a statement: "Justice Ginsburg's success in beating back a diagnosis of colon cancer nearly 10 years ago has inspired and given hope to many in the cancer fight. This new diagnosis is unfortunate, and we take hope in reports that this was apparently an early stage of disease, and wish her well, offer our support and prayers, and want to encourage her in what we know is going to be a challenging course of therapy."

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on pancreatic cancer.

SOURCES: Allyson J. Ocean, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York City; Aaron Sasson, M.D., associate professor, surgery, and chief, gastrointestinal surgical oncology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha; Feb. 5, 2009, statement, Otis W. Brawley, M.D., chief medical officer, American Cancer Society, Atlanta

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Texas Supreme Court Rules Against Medicare HMOs in Hospital Reimbursement Fight
2. Filing for Reconsideration/Press Conference ACUNA v. TURKISH, Historic Informed Consent Abortion Case to the New Jersey Supreme Court
3. ALLs Judie Brown: Supreme Court is Wrong on Contraception Ruling
4. Autism Speaks Applauds Supreme Court Decision Upholding Families Right to Challenge IEPs Without First Trying Out School District Proposed Placement
5. California Veterinary Medical Association Reacts to Supreme Court Decision
6. Amicus Brief Filed with U.S. Supreme Court in Riegel v. Medtronic, Inc.
7. Supreme Court Hears Case on Federal Pre-emption of Safety Standards for Medical Technologies (Riegel v. Medtronic, Inc.)
8. Michigan Resident, Kimberly Kents Drug Product Liability Case Will Be Argued in the United States Supreme Court on February 25, 2008
9. Surprise U.S. Supreme Court Decision Helps Michigan Citizens
10. AARP Deeply Disappointed by Supreme Court Decision on Retiree Health Care Benefits
11. Oregon Supreme Court Rules in Favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in Medical Monitoring Suit
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Faces Tough Battle Against Pancreatic Cancer
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 26, 2015 , ... Inevitably when people think Thanksgiving, they also think Holiday ... the Black Friday and Cyber Monday massage chair sales to receive the ... and low to find the best massage chair deals, they can see all of ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... PRMA Plastic Surgery is updating their record ... performed their 6,000th free flap breast reconstruction surgery! , “What an accomplishment for the ... to rebuild lives and it’s an honor to have served all of these women.” ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... than those found on mammography, according to a study published online in the ... not seen on mammography may necessitate a change in treatment. , Breast MRI ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... factory direct sauna parts and accessories. , Sauna accessories help improve the bather ... style and personality. From basic styles for the purist looking for simplicity in ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... According to an article ... more and more widely heralded as a breakthrough for performing hernia repairs. The article ... traditional laparoscopic surgery is that it can greatly reduce the pain that a patient ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 --> ... potential att använda SyMRI för att hitta ... patienter med multipel skleros (MS) eller hjärntumörmetastaser ... AB för att kunna använda SyMRI Research ... SyMRI kan man generera flera konstrastbilder från ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... -- ) has announced the ... Viscosity Drugs" report to their offering. ... of the "Self Administration of High Viscosity ... Research and Markets ( ) has ... of High Viscosity Drugs" report to their ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 ... "Global Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" ... ) has announced the addition ... Market 2015-2019" report to their offering. ... ) has announced the addition of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: