Sickle Cell Anemia is Treated by Leading Cancer Doctors in Baltimore

Medical Oncology at Mercy - Baltimore

At Medical Oncology and Hematology at Mercy in Baltimore, hematologists are dedicated to diagnosing and treating a wide range of diseases of the blood. Patients look to the hematologists at Mercy for their experience and knowledge in treating blood diseases, including sickle cell anemia.

About the Condition

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disease in which the body makes sickle-shaped or crescent blood cells. Normal blood cells are round shaped and made up of iron-rich protein called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Sickle cell is caused by an abnormal type of hemoglobin called hemoglobin S. Hemoglobin S makes red blood cells weak causing less oxygen to be delivered to the body.

Who is at risk for Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle cell anemia is found in people of African and Mediterranean descent. It is also found in people from areas of the world including South and Central America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

People with sickle cell anemia experience painful episodes known as crises. These crises can last for several hours or for a few days. Crises create pain in the lower back, leg, joints and chest. As the sickle cell anemia progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Accelerated heart beat
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice
  • Paleness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach pain

The spleen in patients with sickle cell anemia may stop functioning. As a result, the disease leads to infection of the bone, gallbladder, lung and urinary tract.

Test commonly used to diagnose sickle cell anemia include:

  • Bilirubin
  • Blood oxygen saturation
  • CBC – Complete blood count
  • Hemoglobin electrophoresis
  • Serum creatinine
  • Serum potassium
  • Sickle cell test
NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

It is important to find a hematology doctor who is experienced in treating sickle cell anemia. The overall objective in treating sickle cell anemia is to manage and control symptoms. Sickle cell anemia patients require ongoing treatment:

  • Antibiotics
  • Blood transfusions
  • Excessive fluids
  • Hydroxyurea
  • Pain medications

In cases of severe sickle cell anemia, treatments may include:

  • Dialysis or kidney transplant
  • Eye surgery
  • Hip replacement
  • Removal of gallbladder
  • Wound care for leg ulcers