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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent cancer treatment for the second time in a year

The justice recently completed radiation treatment for a tumor on her pancreas.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg giving a lecture at Georgetown University Law Center.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in a lecture on September 26, 2018, at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC. 
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Anna North is a senior correspondent for Vox, where she covers American family life, work, and education. Previously, she was an editor and writer at the New York Times. She is also the author of three novels, including the New York Times bestseller Outlawed.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent radiation therapy this month for a tumor on her pancreas, the Supreme Court announced on Friday.

Ginsburg, 86, had three weeks of radiation on an outpatient basis beginning August 5 and finishing this week, according to NPR.

“The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body,” a statement from the Supreme Court said. “Justice Ginsburg will continue to have periodic blood tests and scans. No further treatment is needed at this time.”

Ginsburg has been treated for cancer several times over the past 20 years, NPR notes. This summer marked her second round of treatment in less than a year. In December, she had surgery for lung cancer. Doctors said that surgery was successful and there was no evidence of remaining cancer at that time.

Health issues for the justice, a liberal who has become a feminist icon in recent years thanks to her fiery dissents and her work on women’s rights, have led to questions about how long she will remain on the bench. If she were to leave during President Trump’s term in office, he would almost certainly appoint a conservative justice, giving conservatives a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court.

That could give right-wing justices enough of a margin to overturn Roe v. Wade and accomplish a variety of other conservative priorities.

But speculation about Ginsburg’s longevity on the Court has always run up against her legendary toughness.

“There was a senator, I think it was after my pancreatic cancer, who announced with great glee that I was going to be dead within six months,” Ginsburg told NPR before her most recent round of treatment. “That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I am very much alive.”