Battling Pancreatic Cancer
Sadly, Aretha Franklin needs more than a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. The diva who came before Mariah, Christina, Rihanna and the rest needs your good thoughts, as she's currently battling pancreatic cancer.
A family friend of Aretha's told Detroit's FOX 2 News that she is doing "okay," but loved ones are "very concerned."
The National Enquirer said Aretha's cancer is pancreatic and she has less than a year to live. While The Enquirer isn't always the most reliable, the publication was the first to report on Patrick Swayze's cancer, also pancreatic.
Aretha underwent a "highly successful" surgery last week, and she released a statement saying, "God is still in control. I had superb doctors and nurses whom were blessed by all the prayers of the city and the country."
According to our expert, Los Angeles internist Dr. Andrea Ruman, "Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. For patients with advanced cancers, the overall survival rate of all stages is less than one percent at five years, with most patients dying within one year. The mortality rate is high because pancreatic cancer is usually not found in the early stages, when the cancer is confined only to the pancreas. There aren't any noticeable signs or symptoms in the early stages of pancreatic cancer; when symptoms are present, like abdominal pain or jaundice, often the cancer has already enlarged and spread to other organs."
Pancreatic risk factors include "smoking, longstanding diabetes, chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), and certain hereditary conditions. People with significant risk factors for pancreatic cancer or who have a strong family history of pancreatic cancer should contact a gastroenterologist for consultation and evaluation," Dr. Ruman advises.
Unfortunately, there are no tests currently available to screen the general population for pancreatic cancer.