“Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts, who told viewers in an emotional announcement earlier this month that she has the rare disorder myelodysplastic syndromes, will soon get a bone marrow transplant from her sister.
MDS is a group of disorders that cause the bone marrow to produce an inadequate number of healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, according to the Mayo Clinic. Cells in the bone marrow that make blood cells don’t mature, don’t make enough blood cells or make defective cells.
About 10,000 to 15,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year, and 80% of cases are in people over age 60. Roberts is 51.
In some cases, MDS can lead to cancer.
Treatments include blood cell and platelet transfusions, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants, according to the Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation. The disease can develop after exposure to certain chemicals or radiation. Roberts was treated for breast cancer five years ago and told her colleagues in a letter that the treatment likely caused the disease.
Roberts will not be on the air during recovery from the transplant.