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Robin Roberts: ABC anchor has blood, bone marrow disorder
NEW YORK (AP) — “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts on Monday said she is starting chemotherapy for treatment of a disease that will require her to get a bone marrow transplant sometime this fall.
Miss Roberts, who was treated for breast cancer five years ago, said she has been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone marrow disease once known as preleukemia.
The chemotherapy is a preparatory treatment for the bone marrow transplant. Miss Roberts said her sister is a good match and has agreed to donate bone marrow.
“My doctors tell me I’m going to beat this, and I know it’s true,” Miss Roberts said on the ABC show.
Miss Roberts, 51, said she contracted the disease through her treatment for the breast cancer.
Between 80 percent and 90 percent of MDS patients develop it when they’re over age 60, according to the American Cancer Society. Miss Roberts said there’s some “scary stuff” when you look up statistics about the disease, but ABC’s medical correspondent, Dr. Richard Besser, said these statistics don’t shed much light on Miss Roberts‘ case because she’s “young and incredibly healthy” in comparison to most people who contract the disease.
Miss Roberts has been on “Good Morning America” for a decade, most recently teamed with George Stephanopoulos as co-anchor. The show has been doing well this spring in its ratings competition with NBC’s “Today” show.
She learned of her diagnosis on the same day that “Good Morning America” beat “Today” for a week in the ratings for the first time in more than 16 years, Miss Roberts said. On a day some of her bone marrow was extracted for testing, Miss Roberts learned she had landed the interview with President Obama in which he revealed his support for gay marriage.
“The combination of landing the biggest interview of my career and having a drill in my back reminds me that God only gives us what we can handle and that it helps to have a good sense of humor when we run smack into the adversity of life,” she said.
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