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ABC's Robin Roberts Vows To Beat Blood Disorder

Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts told the ABC-TV show's viewers today that she's been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), "a disease of the blood and bone marrow and was once known as preleukemia."

She also said "doctors tell me I'm going to beat this — and I know it's true."

Roberts, who five years ago "beat breast cancer," as she put it, added that "sometimes the treatment for cancer can cause other serious medical problems." In her case, chemotherapy apparently led to the MDS. Here's how The Washington Post's The Checkup blog describes MDS:

"A rare blood disorder in which 'the bone marrow produces enough blood cells, but they're fragile, or cracked, so when they try to get into the blood stream to do what they do, they break apart prematurely,' explains Martin Tallman, chief of the leukemia service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York."

Roberts, 51, said that among the reasons her prognosis is good is that while "bone marrow donors are scarce and particularly for African-American women, I am very fortunate to have a sister who is an excellent match, and this greatly improves my chances for a cure."

Tallman tells Checkup that doctors have "shifted away" from calling the procedures "bone marrow transplants," in favor of "stem cell transplants."

Roberts expects to be able to keep doing her job, though she may "miss a day here or there."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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