Pancreatic cancer, the diagnosis revealed recently for queen of soul Aretha Franklin, affects a disproportionate number of African-Americans and is often tied to certain risk factors prevalent in the black community, researchers say.

“The incidence of pancreatic cancer is 50 – 90 percent higher in African-Americans than in any other racial group in the United States,” according the report from the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

“Not only is pancreatic cancer more common among African-Americans, but African-Americans also have the poorest prognosis of any racial group because they often are diagnosed with advanced, and therefore, inoperable cancer,” the report stated.

Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, says risk factors such as smoking, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, lack of exercise, cirrhosis of the liver and pancreatitis can increase the potential for developing cancer of the pancreas.

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