CBNNews.com - WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is currently recovering from her surgery on Thursday for an early stage of pancreatic cancer.
Ginsburg, 75, had the surgery at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She will remain in the hospital for seven to ten days, her surgeon Dr. Murray Brennan said.
Court sources said her surgery went well and her family were cautiously optimistic.
Click the player to find out more about pancreatic cancer with CBN News Medical Reporter Lorie Johnson.
Ginsburg is the only woman serving on the Supreme Court. She was 60-years-old when appointed to the court by President Clinton in 1993.
Word of Ginsburg's illness Thursday stirred doubt about whether she will be forced to retire sooner than she would wish. Questions remain about whom President Obama might appoint as her successor.
Colon Cancer Surgery Ten Years Ago
In 1999, Ginsburg had surgery for colon cancer and had chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
The pancreatic cancer was discovered during a routine, annual exam late last month at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
A CAT scan revealed a tumor measuring about 1 centimeter across the center of the pancreas, a Court statement explained.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers: Nearly 38,000 cases a year are diagnosed. Overall, fewer than 5 percent survive five years.
Ginsburg is one of only two female justices to have ever served on the nation's highest court. The other is Sandra Day O'Connor, who retired in 2006.
In her previous bout with cancer, Ginsburg received treatment throughout the court's term and never missed a day on the bench.
The justices return to the bench on Feb. 23.
Sources: The Associated Press, CBN News
*Originally aired February 5, 2009