U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (center) greets other attendees at an annual Women"s background Month reception.Allison Shelley/Getty Images
Supreme Court combine Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week at the period of 87, is rightfully being memorialized as a “feminist icon,” a “history-making jurist,” and also as “Notorious RBG,” a pop culture legend. One more huzzah must be included to the list: cancer survivor.

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Ginsburg was first diagnosed v colon cancer two years ago, and also over a duration of an ext than 20 years beat that back. She also had bouts v pancreatic and lung cancer. It in reality wasn’t the long back that people diagnosed with cancer — world like Ginsburg, me, and also the much more than 16 million Americans at this time living v cancer — were referred to as “cancer victims.” us were expected to hide in shame, and also too often challenged discrimination in the workplace and, the course, by health insurers who perceived us together either too risky or also expensive to provide coverage.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg verified to it is in as much of a trailblazer for people living v cancer together she did because that women, minorities, and complimentary speech, among the countless hot-button causes and also cases she heard throughout her quarter-century top top the high court.


These days, thanks to improved treatments that have prolonged both quality of life and also longevity for many world with cancer, the id of a cancer victim is practically obsolete. Follow to the national Cancer Institute, a person is thought about to be a cancer survivor from the moment of diagnosis till the end of life. “Part that cancer survivorship, for numerous like RBG,” stated Dr. Blaes, “encompasses going v surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy while life well, living through the effects of treatment, the impacts of cancer, the suspicion of recurrence and also progressive disease.” Ginsburg perfect demonstrated to every one of us what it method to it is in a cancer survivor.


In 1999, Ginsburg, then 66, was diagnosed with colon cancer and successfully treated for it. A decade later came a brand-new diagnosis, pancreatic cancer, found early due to the fact that the jurist was still undergoing continual screening since of her very first cancer. In 2018, two tumors to be surgically removed from her lungs, and then last year a new malignancy was discovered on her pancreas.

Throughout every the surgeries, not to forget the plenty of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Ginsburg lived and worked as many Americans — especially cancer survivors — retained her close to your hearts.


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In one obituary transfer on NPR, reporter Nina Totenberg psychic Ginsburg together a friend and professional resource who kept her promises.

Not lengthy after Ginsburg’s radiation treatments for colon cancer, the justice experienced a blockage in she colon, placing her in the hospital the night before Totenberg’s 2000 wedding. “But together I would certainly learn, a commitment from RBG was around as ironclad a point as you might get,” Totenberg remembered. “‘This was her wedding eve, and I to be not about to allow you be worried,’ she told me later. In true fashion, she was there, stayed through the dinner, and also quietly asked me if it would certainly be ok if she left a little early.”

When it involved her life on the bench, Ginsburg to be as much of a stalwart. In 2009, once diagnosed v pancreatic cancer, the diminutive large finished the draft of a decided on the trip to brand-new York for her surgery; it would be delivered by someone else. Ten work after the surgery, Ginsburg was front and also center at chairman Barack Obama’s an initial State that the Union speech. “And, truthfully, she looked like she had actually a cool time,” recalls Totenberg.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg influenced us just how to live a life full of meaning, connection, and also love in the shadow of cancer. And she had actually a cool time. Once we remember righteousness Ginsburg in the years to come, let’s no forget to include “cancer survivor” come those achievements.

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Steven Petrow is a columnist for USA Today, a contributing writer come the Washington Post, a previous president that the national Lesbian & gay Journalists Association, and also author of number of books.