Rep. John Lewis U.S. Representative John Lewis and a civil rights icon has disclosed that he is being treated for pancreatic cancer, an often-deadly disease that took the life of Aretha Franklin. Congressman Lewis announced in a news release Sunday, “ This month in a routine medical visit, and subsequent tests, doctors discovered Stage IV pancreatic cancer. This diagnosis had been reconfirmed.” Stage 4 pancreatic cancer means the disease, which is initially hard to detect, has spread to other organs, typically the liver or the lungs. Pancreatic cancer occurs when the cancer cells form and grow in the pancreas, a vital part of the digestive system and a critical controller of blood sugar levels, according Johns Hopkins Medicine. The pancreas is located deep in the abdomen. Part of the pancreas is sandwiched between the stomach and the spine. Pancreatic cancer can’t be cured at this point, but there are still treatment options. The MD Anderson Cancer Center reports that there are 50,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer every year and more than 40,000 individuals die from the disease every year. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include jaundice, dark urine or light- colored stool, pain in the abdomen or middle of the back, bloating or the feeling of fullness, nausea, vomiting or indigestion, lack of an appetite, unexplained weight loss and sudden onset diabetes. Pancreatic cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Black men have a very poor survival rate from pancreatic cancer, according to several studies but the reasons are not clear. The disease also affects more individuals 65 and older. Lewis is 79. Doctors also are treating U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for pancreatic cancer. Justice Ginsburg is 85. African Americans are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than other ethnic racial groups. Risk factors for the ailment include smoking and obesity. Blacks are some the most-obese individuals in the country. Lewis, who represents Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, was elected to Congress in 1987. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to lead the push for voting rights. Lewis urged everyone to keep him in their prayers.
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Aretha Franklin, who died last week, will lie in repose August 28th and 29th at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. The public will be able to view her body in an open casket each of those days from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. A private funeral for family and friends will be held 10:00 a.m. on August 31 at Greater Grace Temple, a 4,000-member church in Detroit. The funerals for Rosa Parks and Levi Stubs of the singing group the “Four Tops” were held at Greater Grace. The undisputed “Queen of Soul,” whose recordings dominated the charts for 40 years, died August 16 at her home in Detroit from pancreatic cancer. Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn told The Associated Press that Franklin passed away Thursday at 9:50 a.m. “Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type,” said her oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute” in Detroit. She sang classics “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Respect,” “Think”, I Never Loved a Man The Way I Loved You”, “Do Right Woman” and “Soul Serenade.” She won 18 Grammy Awards and in 1987, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2009, Franklin sang at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration. Her death had been expected. She had canceled concerts and friends and relatives had visited her at home where she was undergoing hospice care. Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive form of cancer that develops in the tissues of the pancreas. Located in the abdomen behind the lower part of the stomach, the pancreas aids in digestion. Incidences of pancreatic cancer are higher among Blacks compared to Whites, but the cancer is misunderstood because of its high death rates, according to the book “Minorities and Cancer.” The Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine reported the incidence rate for pancreatic cancer among Blacks is 30 percent to 70 percent higher than other racial groups in America. Not only is the incidence rate of pancreatic cancer higher among African-Americans, they also have the poorest survival rates because their cancer is often diagnosed at more advanced stages. Cigarette smoking, growing older, diabetes and obesity increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. Some 37.1 percent of Black men and 56.6 percent of Black women are obese, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest public health philanthropy.