July 31, 2007 11:15 AM

(Video courtesy ABC News)

Robin Roberts, co-anchor of Good Morning America, announced on the ABC program Tuesday that she has been diagnosed with an early stage of breast cancer.

Her voice shaking slightly, Roberts, 46, told viewers, “I didn’t want you to hear it from anyone else. … I have breast cancer, as my family here [at ABC] knows, and my family at home knows. And I’m very, very blessed and thankful that I found it early.”

Roberts said she discovered a lump in her breast during a routine self-examination earlier this month – ironically the same day GMA aired a tribute to Joel Siegel, the program’s film critic, who died of colon cancer in June.

An initial surgery is scheduled for this Friday, she said. After that, Roberts will begin treatment and “move forward, as millions of people do when they hear this.”

Roberts said she will continue working at GMA while she receives treatment, and asked viewers to be kind to her on the show’s Internet message boards if she has a bad day now and then.

ABC has also posted a short written message from Roberts online. “Now I join the ranks of millions of Americans who are fighting this same battle each and every day,” Roberts writes. “I appreciate YOUR courage and YOUR example. Thank you for showing me the way.”

Roberts, a native of Louisiana, got into broadcasting while a student at Southeastern Louisiana University, where she was also a standout basketball player. She has been co-anchor on Good Morning America since May of 2005.

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