Report: Aretha Franklin Battling Pancreatic Cancer

Reports that the Queen of Soul has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer has once again shone the light on this difficult-to-treat variation of the disease.

It turns out that the Queen of Soul’s health problems may be more serious than initially thought. The Detroit News is reporting that Franklin has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, citing a source close to the singer. It is important to mention that nothing has officially been confirmed as of yet. But the mere mention of the diagnosis shone the light on pancreatic cancer once again (you may remember that actor Patrick Swayze recently passed away from pancreatic cancer).

Pancreatic cancer is notoriously known for being difficult to treat. The sheer nature of the cancer makes it hard to diagnose until the late stages, which usually leads to a very difficult process and not very good statistics when it comes to long-term survival or remission. In addition, this cancer diagnosis seems to be more prevalent in the African American community; according to the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins, “the incidence of pancreatic cancer is 50-90% higher in African Americans than in any other racial group in the United States.”

However, there is reason for hope for Franklin and others who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

HealthCanal.com recently reported on the improvements and medical advances that have been made when it comes to treating this type of cancer. The article explains that there has been “remarkable improved mortality rates over the past few years” thanks to advancements in surgery and targeted therapies. For instance, Dr. Steven Strasberg, pancreatic cancer surgeon at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, has worked with colleagues to develop a new surgical procedure for pancreatic cancer that is showing great promise. “Survival rates are quite satisfactory and are similar to rates reported for the Whipple procedure,” said Strasberg.

Even with hope on the horizon, pancreatic cancer patients often have a difficult road ahead in terms of treatment and potential recovery. When considering that pancreatic cancer only accounts for 2% of the cancers diagnosed each year and that it is still the 4th leading cause of cancer death in the US, it goes to show just how difficult treatment can be.

Around the Web

Aretha 'doing better' amid reports of cancer [CBC News]

Aretha Franklin 'battling cancer' [Guardian]

Pancreatic Cancer Treatments Improving Dramatically [Health Canal]