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How Can Fanconi Anemia Be Prevented?

ou can't prevent Fanconi anemia (FA) because it's an inherited disease. If a child gets two copies of the same faulty FA gene, he or she will have the disease.

If you're at high risk for FA and are planning to have children, you may want to consider genetic counseling. A counselor can help you understand your risk of having a child who has FA. He or she also can explain the choices that are available to you.

If you're already pregnant, genetic testing can show whether your child has FA. For more information on genetic testing, go to "How Is Fanconi Anemia Diagnosed?"

In the United States, Ashkenazi Jews (Jews of Eastern European descent) are at higher risk for FA than other ethnic groups. For Ashkenazi Jews, it's recommended that prospective parents get tested for FA-related gene mutations before getting pregnant.

Preventing Complications

If you or your child has FA, you can prevent some health problems related to the disorder. Pneumonia, hepatitis, and chicken pox can occur more often and more severely in people who have FA compared with those who don't. Ask your doctor about vaccines for these conditions.

People who have FA also are at higher risk than other people for some cancers. These cancers include leukemia (a type of blood cancer), myelodysplastic syndrome (abnormal levels of all three types of blood cells), and liver cancer. Screening and early detection can help manage these life-threatening diseases.

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November 1, 2009