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2 Chicago news anchors take time off for medical treatment

Hosea Sanders of ABC-7 (left) and Rob Stafford of NBC-5 announced this week that they would take time away from their stations to undergo treatment. | File photos

Two longtime Chicago news anchors will be off television screens for several weeks as they battle recently diagnosed medical conditions.

Hosea Sanders of ABC-7 and Rob Stafford of NBC-5 announced this week that they would take time away from their stations to undergo treatment.

Sanders, 59, wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few weeks ago. He said he would undergo surgery on Wednesday.

“I’m in the care of some outstanding professionals and I’m very optimistic about the outcome,” wrote Sanders, who has been with ABC-7 for 23 years.

He said his doctors told him that African-American men are especially at risk of developing prostate cancer, a disease that Sanders said his father suffered from.

Sanders didn’t specify how long he would undergo treatment, only saying he would be “taking some time off” from the 7 p.m. weeknight newscast he anchors with Cheryl Burton, produced by ABC-7 for WCIU-Channel 26.

Stafford, 58, informed his colleagues Wednesday morning of his battle with a rare blood disorder amyloidosis, which occurs when a substance called amyloid builds up in an organ.

He wrote in an email to the newsroom that he would undergo a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy. While there’s no cure for amyloidosis, treatment can help manage symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Stafford said in the email that he will be off the anchor desk for several months. He is scheduled to begin treatment Friday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

“The Mayo hematologists are among the best amyloid experts in the world,” Stafford wrote. “They say a bone marrow transplant using my own stem cells and chemotherapy is clearly the best option for me. Two-thirds of amyloid transplant patients go into remission and my doctors are confident I will be one of them.”

He said doctors discovered the disorder at an early stage — stage 2 of 4 — after his wife urged him to get an early diagnosis.

Stafford, who anchors the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, joined NBC-5 in 2009 after stints with Dateline NBC and CBS-2. He planned to make a public announcement at the end of Wednesday’s 10 p.m. newscast. Stafford has won two national Emmy awards, seven local Emmys and an Edward R. Murrow award.