Good Morning America's Robin Roberts Diagnosed with MDS - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Good Morning America's Robin Roberts Diagnosed with MDS

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Good Morning America's Robin Roberts told viewers Monday that she has a new health battle on her hands.  Five years after beating breast cancer she is now fighting a disease known as MDS or myelodysplastic syndrome.  It's a disease of the blood and bone marrow that can lead to leukemia.

Dr. Balan Nair with Little Rock Hematology Oncology, a division of CARTI, says MDS can be a rare complication of chemotherapy but the disease itself is not that uncommon. He says it is most often seen in those over the age of 60.

Dr. Nair said, "If it's caught early it's treatable. Not always curable. A lot of times we can treat the affects of the disease as well as prevent it from going into leukemia."

Joyce Williams of Little Rock is in her 70's and like Robin Roberts was diagnosed with MDS after beating breast cancer.

Williams said, "I just can't walk a long distance without feeling like I'm going to drop. It's miserable. I don't feel pain I just don't have energy that I used to have but my age has a lot to do with that too."

While Williams is not a candidate for a bone marrow transplant, Roberts is and says she is fortunate to have a sister who is match. Roberts plans to have a bone marrow transplant later this year, but she points out that bone marrow donors are scares and particularly for African-American women.

According to "Be the Match Registry" about 70% of patients in need of a transplant do not have a matching donor in their family.

Dr. Nair said, "We need more patients of African-American and other racial ethnicities to donate and be part of the bone marrow registry because that is always a difficult match. So if we can increase the number of people in that pool the chance increases that we can find a match for somebody in the future."

To see if you could be a potential donor and sign up for a test kit visit www.bethematch.org or www.getswabbed.org.

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