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Aretha Franklin, pancreatic cancer -- and research to benefit everyone

December 09, 2010|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times
(Stephen Lovekin/Getty…)

Singer Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, it was revealed Wednesday, has pancreatic cancer. And though few details of Franklin's disease are known at this time, the cure rate for this cancer isn’t good.

Two in 10 people with pancreatic cancer live at least one year after diagnosis, and fewer than 4% will be alive after five years, the American Cancer Society says.

Still, little is known about Franklin's condition, with media reports saying the 68-year-old had undergone surgery and was recovering at home. The three main types of treatment for pancreatic cancer are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, according to the Cancer Society.

Actor Patrick Swayze died from pancreatic cancer last year. His public battle created awareness of the fatal disease that has no early warning signs. That's not to say there's no hope or that the prognosis is fated to be grim.

Researchers are working, some might say scrambling, to improve diagnoses, treatments -- and outcomes. Here are the latest findings and research on potential treatments and a guide to the basics of this disease.

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