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Breast Cancer Health Center

TV's Robin Roberts Has Breast Cancer

Co-Anchor of ABC's Good Morning America to Undergo Surgery
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 31, 2007 -- Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts announced on air Tuesday that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Roberts, 46, says she will undergo surgery soon and then receive follow-up treatment within the next few months.

"I never thought I'd be writing this ... I have breast cancer," Roberts writes on the Good Morning America web site. After her ABC news colleague Joel Siegel died from colon cancer in June, Roberts worked on a special report detailing his battle.

"That very night when I went to bed, I did a self breast exam and found something that women everywhere fear: I found a lump," she writes. "At first I thought, 'This can't be. I am a young, healthy woman.' Nevertheless, I faced my fear head on and made an appointment to see the doctor. Much as I was hoping the doctor would say it was nothing, she did a biopsy and confirmed that the lump I'd found was indeed an early form of breast cancer."

The 'Robin Roberts Effect' on Early Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Roberts is not alone. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, other than skin cancer, according to statistics from the American Cancer Society (ACS). About 178,480 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2007.

"I give Robin Roberts a tremendous amount of credit for going public from the beginning and using her experience to help others," says Donnica Moore, MD, a women's health expert based in Far Hills, N.J. Moore is not treating Roberts.

"Just as we saw the 'Katie Couric effect' on the diagnosis of colon cancer, I predict that Robin Roberts' brave announcement will produce a 'Robin Roberts effect' in the increased diagnosis of breast cancer among all women," she says.

After Couric underwent a colonoscopy on the Today show in March 2000, test rates jumped nationwide.

After finding the lump, Roberts underwent both a mammogram (breast X-ray) and an ultrasound. A breast ultrasound transmits high-frequency sound waves to help determine if a lump is a fluid-containing cyst or a solid mass.

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