My Cancer Advisor > Pancreas and Liver Cancer > Famous People with Pancreas and Liver Cancer > Supreme Court Justice Beats the Odds Against Pacreatic Cancer

Supreme Court Justice Beats the Odds Against Pacreatic Cancer

Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent pancreatic surgery for cancer performed by Dr Murray Brennan, a world-renowned surgical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The pundits looked into their smoky crystal balls and declared that she had almost no chance of beating pancreas cancer (they said that almost everyone dies of this disease) and that President Obama had better start looking for a replacement.

Well, her tumor was small and completely removed. She had a fairly rapid recovery and returned to the bench in just weeks after surgery. So much for trying to predict outcomes in individual patients. Some doctors might have thought that surgery was too dangerous and they might have been reluctant to even offer such a big operation to someone in her 80s.

Too many observers generalize the facts about pancreas survival rates to all patients. Some of the news broadcasters and political pundits I heard hadn’t checked on the fact that pancreas cancer patients who have an operable tumor have a 25% to 40% chance of living 5 to 10 years or more. While these aren’t great odds, they are still a whole lot better than some of the predictions by newscasters I heard that claimed she might not live more than 6 months! Boy, were they wrong!

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