During chemo your doctor and care team will keep track of your blood cell counts. Most chemo drugs are toxic to cancer cells and to normal, healthy blood-forming cells. If chemo damage causes certain blood cell levels to get too low, your doctor may need to adjust your chemo plan. And you may need to take some extra time to recover before starting a new cycle of chemo.
Your doctor will know how best to handle serious chemo side effects. Let your doctor know how you are feeling throughout your treatment.
Blood Cell-Related Side Effects
The following serious side effects may occur during chemo when blood cells get too low:
- Anemia: Anemia occurs when your body has too few red blood cells.
- Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of your body.
- Oxygen is needed for the health of your tissues and organs.
- When your tissues don't get enough oxygen you may feel short of breath and extremely weak.
- Neutropenia: Neutropenia occurs when you have a low number of a specific type of infection-fighting white blood cells called neutrophils.
- Thrombocytopenia: Thrombocytopenia is the name for a low platelet count.
- Platelets help your blood clot.
- A low platelet count may cause bruising and serious bleeding.
Speak with your doctor and care team about your blood cell levels before starting chemo. It's key to understand the plan for dealing with these serious side effects that may arise during your treatment.
The Chemotherapy and Infection Discussion Guide can help you understand your
chance for infection
Infection can be a serious result of chemo. Find out the factors that affect your chance of infection. Simply answer a few questions, and then print your results to share with your doctor.
Use the Chemotherapy and Infection Discussion Guide to find out more.
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