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OTRC: Aretha Franklin may leave hospital soon, has not commented on cancer reports

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

Aretha Franklin may be released from the hospital as early as this weekend and will perform again in 2011, her cousin says, a week after the 68-year-old singer underwent a mysterious operation and following recent reports that said she has cancer.

Franklin, often deemed "The Queen of Soul", is "doing better than doctors expected" and "has a long life in front of her and will be back in concert, on stage, late spring or early summer," her cousin Brenda Corbett told the Detroit Free Press newspaper.

The publication quoted a source familiar with the situation as saying the singer is battling cancer, echoing recent reports by other media outlets in Detroit, Franklin's hometown. The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News said the disease is in her pancreas.

Franklin has not commented and has not specified the nature of a medical procedure she underwent on Thursday. In November, Franklin canceled all concert dates and personal appearances through May 2011 by order of her doctors, but did not specify her illness.

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.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he visited Franklin four or five times and her spirits "are high and her faith is strong."

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