Ruth Bader Ginsburg battles cancer for 2nd time this year

Justice Ginsburg, who holds a critical liberal seat on the Supreme Court, underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer.
3:24 | 08/24/19

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Transcript for Ruth Bader Ginsburg battles cancer for 2nd time this year
The health scare for Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The supreme court justice revealed her second battle with cancer in a year. ABC's white house correspondent Tara Palmeri is at the supreme court this morning. Tara, good morning to you. Reporter: Good morning, Terrell. It's her fourth cancer treatment in the past ten years and all eyes are on her health because she holds a critical liberal seat on the court, one that senate majority leader Mitchell Mcconnell said he would quickly fill if vacant giving conservatives control over the court for decades. Supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is recovering at home this morning after revealing she completed a three-week outpatient radiation treatment for pancreatic cancer. According to a statement issued by the court, justice Ginsburg was diagnosed late last month and as part of her treatment doctors inserted a stent in Ginsburg bile duct. Later describing it as localized saying it was treated definitively and there was no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. Justice Ginsburg, who is now 86 and has been treated for various forms of cancer before. Last December she underwent surgery for lung cancer. In 2009 a previous bout with pancreatic cancer required surgery. And in 1999 she was treated for colon cancer. Ginsburg, who is a strong liberal voice on the court, has served for over a quarter of a century. The Clinton administration appointed her in 1993 making her the second woman to ever serve. In her most recent interview last month, she said she plans to serve as long as she can. I am very much alive. Reporter: Ginsburg who is known for her dissent has had her health under watch by both conservatives and liberals. As president trump has already appointed two justices during his first term, leaving the court in favor of conservatives by 5-4. Overnight, president trump wishing her well. I'm hoping she's going to be fine. She's pulled through a lot. She's strong. Very tough. Reporter: And here's a sign of how she's doing. The supreme court justice was at "Moulin rouge" on Broadway last night in New York. Now, the new term for the supreme court starts in October, Dan. I'm very much alive, she says. Proof from last night. Thank you very much. Really appreciate it. Let's bring in ABC news chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton to find out more about pancreatic cancer. When we hear the words pancreatic cancer, it sounds particularly aggressive. What do we need to know? To be clear, Dan, first of all, any type of cancer potentially has the ability to become aggressive. The thing that makes pancreatic cancer difficult is where it's located in the body, the anatomy of the pancreas, it sits up high in the abdominal cavity in a place that the tumors can actually grow quite large before they start producing symptoms and before they can be felt. The function of the pancreas, important for digestion, regulate sugar levels and unfortunately there is not yet a screening test for pancreatic cancer. So who is at risk here and what's the follow-up? When you look at the risk factors, and I want to be clear with this, some are under our control. Some are not. If you take a look at this list, obesity, smoking, heavy alcohol use, ashkenazi jewish descent and certain gene mutations including the brca one we associate with breast cancer, also that increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. Follow-up for this after treatment, serial blood tests to look at tumor markings and C.A.T. Scans and I want to be clear, mind, body, spirit very important. Always a great point to make, Dr. Jen Ashton, we appreciate it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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