Red blood cells are normally shaped like doughnuts, but sickle cells (purple) are flattened and clump together. NIH hide caption

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Sickle Cell Anemia Is On The Rise Worldwide

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Nurse Corean McClinton, left, talks about pain management with Sherry Webb at the Sickle Cell Disease Center in the Truman Medical Center, in Kansas City, Mo., in 2007. Dick Whipple/Associated Press hide caption

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Dick Whipple/Associated Press