Image: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made her first post-surgery public appearance at President Obama's address to a Joint Session of Congress February 24.
updated 3/17/2009 11:00:48 AM ET 2009-03-17T15:00:48

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she will begin chemotherapy later this month, following her surgery in February for pancreatic cancer.

The 76-year-old Ginsburg says she does not expect to miss any court sessions because of the treatment, which she is calling precautionary.

Last month, doctors removed a small cancerous growth from Ginsburg's pancreas. Tests showed that the cancer had not spread beyond the pancreas.

Ginsburg says the operation was "a complete, successful, surgical removal" of the cancer. She says she will require only routine exams once she has finished with the chemotherapy.

She underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment after surgery for colorectal cancer in 1999.

Ginsburg has recently told her former law clerks and others that she envisioned serving on the court into her 80s, although those comments were made before the latest diagnosis.

Addressing law students last Friday in Boston, Ginsburg said there could be an opening on the Supreme Court soon but didn't hint at who might be leaving.

In a question-and-answer session, she said the nine justices only take pictures together when a new member is added. She said: "We haven't had any of those for some time, but surely we will soon."

She declined to take questions from reporters at the event.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Ginsburg back on the bench

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