The purpose of cancer treatments is to destroy cancer cells. Unfortunately, the treatments (chemotherapy, radiation and more) can also affect healthy cells, which may result in various side-effects such as a low blood cell count.
Low blood cell counts, can cause multiple complications and may also delay the next scheduled treatment. A complete blood count (CBC) measures the following components:
White blood cells- the cells of the immune system that protect the body against infections. A low white blood cell count may increase risk of infections, and if an infection develops, the body may be powerless to fight it.
Platelets- help the body to form clots to stop bleeding. A low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) may result in spontaneous bleeding (internally and externally) or bleeding excessively in case of an injury, (even a small one).
Common treatments for low blood count include:
Blood transfusions – for treating low levels of red blood cells and platelets.
Medications – to encourage more blood cells manufacturing, such as growth cell factors to increase white cell counts.
Discuss with your health care team the benefits and risks of each treatment. When blood count is low, there are certain lifestyle behaviors to adopt, for example:
Eating healthy to provide the body with the necessary nutrients to heal and recuperate
Being extra careful to avoid injuries, scrapes or cuts.
Taking precautions to avoid germs including practicing good personal hygiene, staying away from sick people and crowded places, and more.
If you have any questions regarding effects of cancer treatments on the blood counts, you are most welcome to ask in one of the professional groups at Belong Beating Cancer Together app. Wishing you the best of health, The Belong Team
This content is provided for your general education and information only. It does not necessarily reflect Belong’s views and opinions. Belong does not endorse or support any specific product, service, or treatment.