World Sickle Cell Day-June 19th
June 19th would be unlike none other in the Greater Toronto Area as the Toronto Catholic and the Seventh Day Adventist schools join in with us to learn more about sickle cell disease.
What is Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)? Sickle Cell Disease (also called Sickle Cell Anemia) is a group of red blood cell disorders you have inherited and are born with. Sickle cell disease is caused by an abnormal form of Hemoglobin. This is the part of your red blood cell that carries oxygen around the body and keeps your vital organs working. In sickle cell disease, the abnormal Hemoglobin (HbS) is not able to work properly. The red blood cells become stiff and block up the blood vessels in your body, causing pain and damage, and they also get destroyed quickly, leading to anemia and other complications. Currently there is no universal cure for sickle cell disease — Read more
What is Hydroxyurea? Hydroxyurea is a drug (capsule) that was originally used to treat some forms of blood cancer (Leukemia) and blood disorders that can later turn into Leukemia. It has been used for over 15 years to treat sickle cell disease. Hydroxyurea works in a few different ways, but the main way is to increase your body’s production of Fetal (baby) Hemoglobin. We know that this then protects you against sickle cell disease. It is a safe drug and there is no evidence to suggest increases the risk of cancer in patients with sickle cell disease. Like all drugs, it does have some side effects, and you need regular blood test monitoring. Also, unlike pain killers which you take when required, Hydroxyurea must be taken every day to be effective. Hydroxyurea is the only drug therapy available for sickle cell disease and has been shown to prolong survival, reduce pain episodes and some of the complications. Unless you have been told by a specialist that you have very mild Sickle Cell Disease, you should consider going on the drug.– Learn more
HIV-O Group 1 The Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario in collaboration with Sickle Cell Association of Ontario and Association d’Anémie Falciforme du Quebec wrote Health Canada on its stand on the Permanent deferral of donors who have lived in or travelled to certain African countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equitorial Guinea, Gabon, Niger or Nigeria) since 1977 and the sexual partners of these potential blood donors.