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OTRC: Aretha Franklin has cancer, reports say

Aretha Franklin appears in an undated 2007 photo. (flickr.com/photos/ktkatrina)

Aretha Franklin is suffering from cancer, reports say, following the 68-year-old's mysterious surgery last week.

The singer, dubbed "The Queen of Soul", has not commented and has not specified the nature of a medical procedure she underwent on Thursday or the illness it was meant to treat.

In November, Franklin canceled all concert dates and personal appearances through May 2011 by order of her doctors.

WJBK Fox 2 Television in Detroit, Franklin's hometown, reported she was diagnosed with cancer, quoting relatives. The Detroit News quoted a source familiar with the situation as saying the disease is in Franklin's pancreas, a gland behind the stomach.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and is difficult to treat because it is often found late, as symptoms are usually not apparent in its early stages, according to the National Institutes of Health. Actor Patrick Swayze died of the disease at age 57 in 2009.

Risk factors for developing pancreatic cancer include smoking, hereditary disorders, chronic pancreatitis and long-term diabetes. Franklin has for years been overweight, a condition that can lead to several health ailments, including Type 2 diabetes and various forms of cancer.

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