ABC's Robin Roberts Journey to Health: A Local Woman Knows It Well

September 12, 2012 Updated Sep 12, 2012 at 5:46 PM EDT

September 12, 2012 Updated Sep 12, 2012 at 5:46 PM EDT

Good Morning America's Robin Roberts went into the hospital yesterday to begin her treatments for a bone marrow transplant. She has a rare blood disease, and what was surprising to most of us is that it was caused by her breast cancer treatment, but for an Orchard Park woman who suffered a similar illness, hearing of Robin's health challenge was very familiar. Health Link reporter Joanna Pasceri has the story.

The stunning announcement came five years after ABC's Robin Roberts beat breast cancer. She is sick, again. She's been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disorder that develops when bone marrow is not working properly.

Dr. Philip McCarthy, Jr. from Roswell Park Cancer Institute says inside the marrow are white blood cells for fighting infection, red blood cells for delivering oxygen and platelets for clotting. Robin's marrow is not producing enough of these cells. Doctors believe the disorder is linked to the chemotherapy and radiation used to treat her breast cancer. It's extremely rare, but it also happened to an Orchard Park woman.

Elyse Nemoyer was diagnosed with a form of leukemia twelve years after beating breast cancer. She thought she licked the deadly disease, when suddenly, she became very sick. Doctors believe her leukemia was also triggered by chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Dr. McCarthy says chemotherapy and radiation are still the best options for treating cancer, but says doctors need to get better at delivering these methods.