BY Azuka onye, 12:00am September 04, 2012,

Robin Roberts Leaves Good Morning America to Combat a Case of Myelodisplastic Syndrome

Robin Roberts Leaves Good Morning America to Combat a Case of Myelodisplastic SyndromeLast week on Good Morning America, it was reported that co-host Robin Roberts will be on medical leave starting this week. She will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant to treat a disease she has been battling called myelodisplastic syndrome, MDS. Roberts was diagnosed with the disease in June, a disease which developed 5 years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

MDS is a disorder of stem cells in the bone marrow. Myeloid cells are a class of blood cells that include red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. These cells supply our body with oxygen, help us to fight off infection and are crucial for injury repair. The precursors for myeloid cells are stem cells found in the bone marrow.

In patients with MDS, blood production (hematopoiesis), is disorderly and ineffective. Patients are often anemic due to a decrease in blood cells and have clotting problems due to a decrease in platelets. They have increased susceptibility to infections and are prone to bleeding. This is a result of progressive bone marrow failure. Roberts announced early this year that her sister was a match and that she would be under going a full bone marrow transplant.

MDS is most often caused by environmental exposures to radiation and benzene. Secondary MDS can result in patients receiving cancer treatment. In Roberts’ case, the disease may be a complication of the 6 ½ weeks of radiation she received when battling breast cancer. In 1/3 of patients with MDS, it progresses to acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), within a few months to years.

Roberts seems to have all of the odds in her favor. She has a great support system and has overcome, what some may argue, is a big obstacle to treatment, finding a bone marrow donor. F2FA wishes her the best and a speedy recovery.


Last Edited by: Updated: September 12, 2018


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