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Dictionary of Cancer Terms

View in Spanish: Enfermedad de células falciformes

Sickle cell disease (SIH-kul sel dih-ZEEZ)
An inherited disease in which the red blood cells have an abnormal crescent shape, block small blood vessels, and do not last as long as normal red blood cells. Sickle cell disease is caused by a mutation (change) in one of the genes for hemoglobin (the substance inside red blood cells that binds to oxygen and carries it from the lungs to the tissues). It is most common in people of West and Central African descent. Also called sickle cell anemia.



 
 
Source: National Cancer Institute Dictionary of Cancer Terms, available at www.cancer.gov/dictionary.