ERLANGER, Ky. (AP) - It began with a simple nosebleed that wouldn't stop. For five years, that's all it was. But in her senior year of high school, Kayla Iles, now 20, suddenly found herself with a disease that was threatening her life.
She was finally diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a disease that destroys the body's ability to produce red and white blood cells as well as platelets. It's a rare disease, with just 300-600 new cases each year, according to the American Cancer Institute. And it more often occurs in developing countries where there is more exposure to dangerous chemicals.
The American Cancer Institute reports that the disease can be genetic, but it can also be triggered by a drug, exposure to a toxic chemical or by infection. In many cases, the cause is never determined.
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