Robin Roberts Faces Her Myelodysplastic Syndrome with Guts
The co-host of the show ‘Good Morning America’ Robin Roberts has been identified with a disease called MDS or myelodysplastic syndrome. The common name of this disease is preleukemia. She announced this news on Monday, June 11. Five years ago, she won the battle against breast cancer.
Her pre-treatment will begin very soon. She will undergo chemotherapy before receiving bone marrow transplant from her sister at the later period of this year.
According to the data found from National Cancer institute, MDS is a diseased condition where bone marrow becomes unable to produce healthy blood cells. The causes that increase the risk of this disease are:
• Patient’s age. Generally, people, who are over 60 years, remain under the risk of being attacked by this disease.
• Past treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
• White people, especially the white males, are vulnerable to this disease.
• Exposure to some specific chemicals, such as pesticide, solvents, tobacco smoke, etc.
• Exposure to some heavy metals, such as lead or mercury.
The common symptoms of this disease include:
• Shortness of breath
• Easy bruising or bleeding
• Paler skin than usual
• Petechiae or pinpoint spots under the skin due to bleeding
• recurrent infections
Typical treatment procedures of MDS are:
• Blood transfusion therapy
• Drug therapy
• Use of erythropoietin in order to increase red blood cells and thus reducing the effects of anemia
Every year, almost 10,000+ USA people are found affected with blood-related disorders. In most of the cases, the best treatment is a bone marrow transplant. In this process, the stem cells of the donor are directly transfused into the bloodstream of the patient. These new cells get multiplied over time and thus healthy bone marrow are created in the patient’s body.
However, the main problem is to find a match who can donate stem cells to patients. The ratio of donor is even less in case of African-American and other minority people. To donate bone marrow, the immune system’s genetic coding of the donor should be matched with that of the patient. For this reason, it is so important to consider the racial and ethnic background of both the donor and the patient. It is also very important to find a good match. Otherwise, the immune system of the donor will attack the ‘foreign’ cells of the patient. This condition is known as the graft-versus-host disease.
Robin said that she would continue with her job of hosting while going through the treatment procedures. Pointing to the scarcity of donors for African-American people, she started encouraging people to donate bone marrow and save the lives of so many helpless people. She also considered herself lucky as to having a sister who could be her match.