Robin Roberts Myelodysplastic Syndrome: Explaining The 'Good Morning America' Anchor's Diagnosis [UPDATED]

UPDATED Aug. 1: Robin Roberts announced that she will be taking one or two weeks off ahead of her planned medical leave after being diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, HuffPost Media reported.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Roberts' leave was not originally going to be until the end of August or the beginning of September.

"Well, a full disclosure here, I’m not feeling too well," the Hollywood Reporter reported Roberts telling viewers. "In fact I’m going to leave and let you all do the rest of the program on your own. I’m going to take a little time off, just to get some vacay. ... I'll see you in a couple of weeks."

For more, click over to HuffPost Media's report.

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Robin Roberts, anchor of ABC's "Good Morning America," announced today that she has the blood and bone marrow disease myelodysplastic syndrome, according to news reports.

People magazine reported that the condition means Roberts needs to have a bone marrow transplant, which she will receive from her sister. The condition was formerly known as preleukemia.

Roberts wrote in a statement on the "Good Morning America" website:

Today, I will start what is known as pre-treatment -– chemotherapy in advance of a bone marrow transplant later this year. Bone marrow donors are scarce and particularly for African-American women. I am very fortunate to have a sister who is an excellent match, and this greatly improves my chances for a cure.

She added that she's had the diagnosis now "for awhile and will continue to anchor GMA."

For Roberts' full statement on her condition, click over to the "Good Morning America" website.

According to the National Cancer Institute, myelodysplastic syndrome -- which is comprised of seven types -- is a condition in which the bone marrow do not produce enough healthy blood cells.

Anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with the condition, according to the National Marrow Donor Program, though it's more common in men, and most of the cases are in people age 60 and older. Roberts is 51.

Doctors don't always know what causes myelodysplastic syndrome -- in fact, they distinguish the disease based on whether or not they know the cause. When the cause is known, the disease is referred to as secondary myelodysplastic syndrome, according to the Mayo Clinic. Known causes include chemotherapy and radiation treatments for other types of cancers.

Roberts alluded in her statement to the fact that she had previously beaten breast cancer, and that "sometimes the treatment for cancer can cause other serious medical problems."

The National Marrow Donor Program reported that some kinds of myelodysplastic syndrome are more severe than others, and some mild cases can grow to become severe. Sometimes, the condition can turn into a kind of leukemia called acute myelogenous leukemia.

Symptoms of the condition include having frequent infections, fatigue, bruising or bleeding in an unusual manner, bleeding-caused red spots beneath the skin, feeling short of breath and looking unusually pale, according to the Mayo Clinic. The condition is diagnosed with blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy.

While there is no cure for the condition, the Mayo Clinic said that there are some medications a person can take to increase the healthy blood cells in the body.

A bone marrow transplant -- like the one Roberts will undergo -- is also a treatment option, according to the Mayo Clinic. With this option, chemotherapy is used to destroy the body's defective blood cells, and then those cells are replaced with those from the donor. However, the Mayo Clinic noted that there can be risks for this kind of treatment, especially in older people.

But Roberts said on the "Good Morning America" website, "if you Google MDS, you may find some scary stuff, including statistics that my doctors insist don’t apply to me. They say I’m younger and fitter than most people who confront this disease and will be cured."