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low white blood cell count 3mos after chemo finished

bleedpink
Posts: 11
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm a little concern I finished my chemo November 2 I'm half way through my RAD therapy and instead of my wbc coming back up it keeps dropping my red blood cells have recovered and are in a normal range now. Should I be concern that my bone marrow won't recover? Should I really be concern about infection.

MyTurnNow's picture
MyTurnNow
Posts: 2694
Joined: Aug 2009

You are more susceptible to colds, infections, etc. with a low white blood count. Are you having your blood drawn and checked by your onco? If so I would think if you were too low they would be doing something. If not, I would make sure they are aware of this. Good luck and keep us posted.

Moopy23's picture
Moopy23
Posts: 1753
Joined: Jan 2009

Bleedpink, my wbc stayed low through and beyond rads. Just had to remain extra-careful. My rad. onc. was not concerned as my low number is typical for post-chemo.

At my last check in December, 4 months post-rads, my wbc is still not back to normal. It's climbing, just slowly. Again, med. onc not concerned as number still typical. I am hoping my wbc will be up at my next check in February.

Re concern about infection, I think we have to remain vigilant about protecting ourselves as much as possible from germs, at home and out in public. As far as serious issues, I have heard of oncologists calling patients and telling them to stay home due to their low wbc test results. But that never happened to me.

TraciInLA's picture
TraciInLA
Posts: 1829
Joined: Jul 2009

I finished chemo (4 rounds of Cytoxan/Taxotere) in early October. At my 1-month checkup, my WBC count was 7.5 -- I thought, yay, back up to normal. However, at my 2-month checkup, it was down to 2.5 -- I almost fell off the exam table when the nurse handed the report to me, and was a panicked wreck by the time my doctor came into the room.

He told me very firmly and confidently that he was not concerned, and I shouldn't be, either. First, because he said it's very common for WBC counts to seesaw up and down for months after chemo (I think he said it could be as long as a year), that it's not the smooth linear increase that I expected. Second, because he said my neutrophils are fine. I know that neutrophils are a specific type of WBC, and they were what my oncologist was always most concerned about during chemo. If my neutrophils were nice and high, he almost didn't care what my overall WBC count was.

Hope that helps,

Traci

VickiSam's picture
VickiSam
Posts: 8220
Joined: Aug 2009

Scared to say the least ! Thanks for the insight, and I'll keep this email at hand so that when I freak out about my low WBC counts, I know that it is normal for some of us sisters in PINK.

VickiSam

e_hope's picture
e_hope
Posts: 371
Joined: Sep 2009

I had posted the exact same thing a few months ago while I was in treatment. This can be totally normal, but if you are concerned just talk with your oncologist. I am now back in the normal range. Just hang in there, I know how every little thing causes concern in our heads once you hear the big C. neutrophils are more important than the WBC alone, they are more concern if they drop, so as long as they are normal your okay

cats_toy's picture
cats_toy
Posts: 1463
Joined: Feb 2009

my white and red counts were always good throughout chemo and rads. Finished all treatment in December of 2007. My last blood work was in August and both are low. Go figure.
You just never know how you are going to respond to this stuff, but stay strong and keep away from sick people!
Cat

Eil4186's picture
Eil4186
Posts: 967
Joined: Dec 2007

I think this is pretty common. My WBC took about 9 months to get back up to 4 which is just at the normal point and has never gone up from there. Now 3 years after chemo my platelets are low. My onc. said this is due to the chemo. He said that for some, thier bone marrow will never be the same as it was before treatment. I am going to try not to worry too much as long as the levels don't fall dangerously low. Talk with your oncologist, hopefully he can look at your individual situation and put your mind at ease.

Skeezie's picture
Skeezie
Posts: 583
Joined: Aug 2009

I've been out of treatment for 6 weeks and my WBC has been normal. Did you all get Neulasta shots? And it still is up and down? Mine was normal for all 4 cycles. My protein and potassium took a dive tho. Now I'm anxious for my next blood test.

Judy :-)

padee6339's picture
padee6339
Posts: 765
Joined: Jun 2009

My red blood cell count is low, it has been ever since chemo. Where it should be about 36, I hover around 29-32. My oncologist gives me a shot of Aranesp every month, you'd think it would help??? I am anemic and guess I have to get used to that. I try to eat more red meat, and take my B12 tablets every day, but doesn't help. Its funny, the rest of my family has too much iron in their system and I am anemic.
Pat

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