Justice Ginsburg is Probably Quite Ill, Physician Cautions

Thursday, January 10, 2019
By Paul Martin

Via Dr. Joseph Bentivegna M.D.
Thu, 01/10/2019

First of all, I wish Justice Ginsburg well. She is a courageous advocate for women’s rights and a cultural icon. But in one reads between the lines of published reports on her situation, this woman is probably quite ill.

According to Kathleen Arberg, public information officer for the Supreme Court: “Two nodules in the lower lobe of her left lung were discovered incidentally during tests performed at George Washington University Hospital to diagnose and treat rib fractures sustained in a fall on November 7. [2018]” According to the surgeon who operated on the justice, Dr. Valerie Rusch, both nodules removed during surgery were found to be malignant. However, “post-surgery, there was no evidence of any remaining disease. Scans performed before surgery indicated no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. Currently, no further treatment is planned.”

Thus, from published reports from reputable sources, we know the following:

1. She had non-metastatic colon cancer removed in 1999
2. She had non-metastatic pancreatic cancer removed in 2010.
3. She had a stent placed in her coronary arteries in 2014
4. She fell in November of 2018 and broke three ribs.
5. She had surgery in December of 2018 and had two malignant nodules removed from her lungs.
6. Scans found no other cancer in her body.
7. She is 85 years old and has no history of being a smoker.

The most significant words from above are “two malignant nodules.” What does this mean?

First of all, malignant nodules are fancy words for small tumors, in general one that is about an inch or smaller in size. When a nodule is removed during surgery, it is quickly examined under the microscope by a pathologist. These doctors rarely see patients; rather they examine tissues and determine the cause of disease. Pathologists can usually determine quickly whether a nodule is benign or malignant, but in order to determine the actually type of cancer (that is the tissue source of the cancer), special preparation is required before microscopic examination. This can take several days or weeks to complete. At the time of this writing, we have no published reports stating the results of these tests – or even if they were ever done.

But since there were “two malignant nodules,” the odds are is that this is Stage IV or metastatic cancer – meaning that it has spread to the lungs from another organ system. Even with today’s modern technology, it is difficult to pinpoint small primary tumors. Otherwise we would be screening everyone to catch cancer earlier when it is easier to cure.

As noted above, Justice Ginsburg had colon cancer and pancreatic cancer in the past. Again, it is unlikely that these cancers are the source of her possible lung metastases. These cancers do not lie dormant for years. What is much more likely is that a small primary cancer exists – either a new one in the colon or pancreas, or another from another organ such as the liver, kidney or breast. If this is the case, her prognosis is poor, as summarized in the chart below.

The Rest…HERE

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