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5 Myths and Facts About Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)


1. PAIN
MYTH: All individuals with SCD are drug addicts.
FACT: The hallmark of SCD is severe unpredictable pain sometimes requiring high doses of narcotics.

2. LIFESPAN
MYTH: Individuals with SCD don’t live past the age of 21.
FACT: The vast majority of individuals live well into adulthood.

3. TRAIT
MYTH: Sickle cell trait is a mild form of sickle cell disease.
FACT: Sickle cell trait is not a disease; it is generally an asymptomatic carrier state.

– If both parents have sickle cell trait, there is a 1 in 4 chance of having a baby with SCD.

– 1 out of 13 African Americans has sickle cell trait and many don’t know that they have it.

4. RACE
MYTH: SCD only affects black people.
FACT: SCD is seen in people of many races.

5. CURE
MYTH: Bone marrow (stem cell) transplant is a universal cure.
FACT: Not all individuals with SCD are eligible for stem cell transplant. There are associated risks. To learn more about the NIH Cure Sickle Cell Initiative, visit www.curesickle.org.

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