Good Morning America viewers were shocked by anchor Robin Roberts' announcement earlier today: After beating breast cancer five years ago, Roberts is now battling myelodysplastic syndrome, a disease of the blood and bone marrow. Frustratingly, like Sheryl Crow's brain tumor, the disease was actually caused by Roberts' breast cancer treatments.
Roberts has pretty much the most amazing outlook ever:
"My doctors tell me I'm going to beat this -- and I know it's true," she says.
And she does have a lot going for her -- Roberts is younger and in better shape than most people who are diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, and she already has a bone marrow donor lined up in the form of her sister.
But what is myelodysplastic syndrome, exactly?
Well, it's pretty rare, for one thing (which is why you probably haven't heard of it before). Myelodysplastic syndrome is a disease that prevents the bone marrow from making enough healthy blood cells. Symptoms can include fatigue and shortness of breath, as well as looking paler than usual and bruising easily.
If you're thinking that description hits frighteningly close to home, don't get too worried. The list of risk factors is fairly short: Previous chemotherapy or radiation treatment, exposure to chemicals and/or heavy metals, and being a male over the age of 60.
Roberts starts pre-treatment (chemotherapy) today for her bone marrow transplant later this year.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Robin!
Have you ever heard of myelodysplastic syndrome?
Image via ABC