Ruth Bader Ginsburg says 'I'm on my way to being very well' after cancer treatment

"This audience can see that I am alive."
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in a discussion during the Library of Congress National Book Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, August 31, 2019.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in a discussion during the Library of Congress National Book Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, August 31, 2019.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

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/ Source: TODAY
By Ronnie Koenig

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she is alive and rolling full steam ahead following radiation for pancreatic cancer.

The 86-year-old spoke at the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. on Saturday and joked, "this audience can see that I am alive."

This is Justice Bader Ginsburg's fourth bout with cancer, following treatment for colon cancer in 1999, early stage pancreatic cancer in 2009 and lung surgery for cancerous growths in 2018. She told the crowd of thousands at the event who cheered and applauded her: "I am on my way to being very well."

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After spending most of August receiving radiation treatment, she will continue with a full schedule for September, making appearances in Little Rock, Chicago and Raleigh before the Supreme Court opens its term on October 7.

When asked why she wasn't resting up for the term, Ginsburg smiled and said there was still a month to go and "I'll be prepared when the time comes."

The Brooklyn native, and second of four women ever to be confirmed to the court, is known as a liberal and has brought issues such as gender equality to the forefront. It's clear that her commitment to her work has been instrumental in getting her through her health scares. When asked how she "keeps truckin'," she talked about how the important work of the court serves as a distraction.

"For one thing, I love my job," she told the audience. "It's the best and the hardest job I ever had. It has kept me going through four cancer bouts. Instead of concentrating on my aches and pains I just know that I have to read this set of briefs, go over the draft opinion, so I have to surmount whatever is going on in my body and concentrate on the court's work."

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. The five-year survival rate for early-stage pancreatic cancer is 34 percent (meaning 34 percent of patients will survive five years from diagnosis).

Bader Ginsburg, who also authored the best-selling 2016 book "My Own Words," has a can-do spirit that has helped her through her various health trials. If Ginsburg departed the court, it would open up a spot for President Donald Trump to make his third appointment to the court since he took office.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg smiles during a reception where she was presented with an honorary doctoral degree at the University of Buffalo School of Law in Buffalo, New York, U.S., August 26, 2019.Lindsay DeDario / Reuters

For now, Bader Ginsburg is enjoying her status as the "Notorious RBG," even taking meetings with Jennifer Lopez, who wanted to know the Justice's secret to a long and happy marriage.

In response to the singer's question, Bader Ginsburg quoted her mother-in-law's advice to her on her own wedding day: "Be a little deaf."