Expert Perspective: Justice Ginsburg's Pancreatic Cancer

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75, one of only two women to ever serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, had surgery Thursday, Feb. 4, 2009, for pancreatic cancer. While the survival statistics after diagnosis of pancreatic cancer are bleak, for the patients who are able to undergo surgery and recover, there is more hope. Dr. Sunil Hingorani, a leading pancreatic cancer specialist, at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) and a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, joined Andrew for this special “breaking news” program to share his perspective on Justice Gingsburg's situation and the latest in pancreatic cancer in general.

Dr. Hingorani begins by talking about the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer. He speaks about the difficulty in diagnosis because pancreatic cancer symptoms tend to be vague and go easily unnoticed. Dr. Hingorani talks about treatment of this type of cancer, specifically through a surgery called the Whipple Procedure. He goes on to talk about the prospects of long-term survival and chemotherapy after surgery.

Dr. Hingorani shares information about the risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer, and touches on the familial connection. If you have recently heard about this type of cancer in the news, this program provides an expert perspective into the media attention.

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Produced in association with and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center


Andrew Schorr:

Hello. This is Andrew Schorr from Patient Power, and in the breaking news today is news that just our second female on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is having surgery for pancreatic cancer that was discovered just a short time ago, a one-centimeter lesion. She’d previously been treated for colon cancer. So we wanted to put that news in perspective, what it could mean for her, what the surgery is all about, and where we are in the detection and treatment of pancreatic cancer. So joining us is an expert from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, that’s Dr. Sunil Hingorani.

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