Aretha Franklin’s Cancer Diagnosis Prevalent Among Blacks

The Queen of Soul is battling a disease that disproportionally hits African Americans.

By Jorge Rivas Dec 09, 2010

Aretha Franklin is battling pancreatic cancer. ABC affiliate WXYZ in Detroit, Mich., reported late Wednesday that a family friend confirmed Franklin is battling cancer, a disease that is particularly prevalent among African Americans. 

While it only accounts for about 2 percent of the cancers diagnosed each year, pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

The incidence of pancreatic cancer is 50 percent to 90 percent higher in African Americans than in any other racial group in the U.S., according to the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins University. Several studies conducted to look at the increased risk of pancreatic cancer among African Americans suggest that socioeconomic and environmental factors (cigarette use, diabetes mellitus and being overweight) may increase risks.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has visited Franklin regularly since her surgery last week, told the Associated Press Franklin’s "spirits are high, and her faith is strong."

"She has amazing strength–body, religion and faith," Jackson said. "It’s what he keeps her going."

We’re sending the Queen of Soul high spirits and happiness. Along with a little prayer for you.