Sometimes Treatment Means New Cancer

Five years ago, she told the world she had breast cancer.  She made the announcement on national television.  It was “Good Morning America” on ABC and it was anchor Robin Roberts.  She fought her cancer in the public eye and she handled it with grace and determination.  She declared then, that she was a fighter. She promised that her cancer would not get the best of her.  She made good on that promise….until this morning.

Robin, with her colleagues sitting on the big comfy couch, around her, listened and watched as she once again told her viewing audience that she is facing another tough battle.  This one might be more challenging that the breast cancer.  She’s been diagnosed with MDS.  Spell it out and it even looks scary: Myelodysplastic Syndrome.  It used to be called “pre-leukemia.”  It’s a malignant blood and bone marrow disease.  MDS is more common in older patients, but it’s also been known to be an effect from other cancer treatments. 

Doesn’t make sense does it?  Cancer treatment that’s supposed to kill cancer, moves on to find another part of the body, where it can cause cancer?  It’s explained as a trigger that can open the gates to new cancer. 

Chemotherapy will begin Robins’ treatment path this time around and it will lead her, if she tolerates it well, to the bone marrow transplant that could save her life.  This is were the good news part of this sad story comes in…she has a big sister who is the perfect match and will be her donor.  The transplant is scheduled for late summer or early fall.

She describes herself as someone who has “always been a fighter.”  It’s true too.  She was a scrappy baseketball player in her younger years, and she’s survived in television news for a very long time, and you don’t do that, without a lot of moxy. 

Even if you don’t know her, she’s back in the community we all know so well….so, support is the name of the game.  Fight on Robin…Fight on.

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