Low Immunity

jas0816 Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hi, Have not been on this site in a long time. Had a mastectomy in 2000 with 20 lymph nodes removed with 4 nodes positive (this is before the sent node thing). Had the 6 months of chemo then radiation. For the newly diagnosed breast cancer girls, you will get through it, life does go on after treatment. about one year after treatment, I started back to school and eventually got my RN. I started working nights and have been working nights almost 3 years. My questions is, Do we have a lower immunity against infection than the general population. I have never even considered my self with lower immunity but have been getting sick much more frequently since I started working nights. I keep forgetting to ask my oncologist and can't seem to find much about it on the net. Anyone with any info on this subject would be greatly appreciated. julie


  • survivor51
    survivor51 Member Posts: 276
    I checked into this and people in therapy have a lower white cell count and that makes us have a lower immunity system. I finished my chemo the last week of June 2007 and still have difficulty with a lower white cell count but was told it could take a while for my body to catch up. Since it has been since 2000 with you and your cell count is fine, then you immunity should not be weakened. Check your results from the last blood test. Angela
  • Julie thats an interesting question. I think that once your white count returns to normal (4.5-10.5) then you should be in good shape. My onc said that most people's count goes back to normal within a couple months of ending chemo. But its been 15 months for me and my white count is still bouncing around between 2.5 and 3.5 or so. I think that everyone is different and some of us just take a little longer. If its worrying you I think you should talk with your doc. My count is not up to "normal" yet but I almost never get sick. So if you're getting sick a lot maybe you should have your doc check you out. Good luck, Eileen.
  • phoenixrising
    phoenixrising Member Posts: 1,508
    I'm pretty sure the night shift doesn't help. You could look into it but I worked nights for a few years and it really took it's toll on me. I never slept well, had headaches and was always tired. Alot of our nurses in Canada work 12hr night shifts, 4 on and 5 off (I think). It's hard on the system. On another note, congratulations on your nursing degree, I know that isn't an easy feat. Nurses who are aware of what cancer patients go through are a blessing to the industry.
  • mgm42
    mgm42 Member Posts: 491 Member
    I can't answer about the low immunity after recovery, but I do know that studies have shown that people who work the night shift have a tendency to be less healthy. Your nocturnal clock is thrown off and your system has a very difficult adjusting, particularly when on your days off you have a normal schedule. Maybe putting in for the day shift would be something you might want to consider as well as talking to your doctor. Marilynn
  • cabbott
    cabbott Member Posts: 1,039 Member
    I didn't have the chemo or the radiation, but the school nurse where I work told me I still may have lowered immune function. After all, cancer is an immune disease. Our systems couldn't tell the bad cells from the good ones and let them proliferate. . . I always have a hard time thinking I might be less than strong, even today while I'm battling the flu. I try to eat lots of veggies, exercise, drink water and tea, live a relatively stress-free life, and practice a good sense of humor. But I'm still down with the flu tonight! My nurse said to get to the doctor a bit sooner than later since I had a cancer history. It helps. Good luck!
  • gord49
    gord49 Member Posts: 2
    i can help. grryall@shaw.ca
  • roxanne53
    roxanne53 Member Posts: 154
    My second diagnosis was in 3/2003 at stage 3a. I had surgery, chemo, and radiation. I have a bilateral mascetomy. I had 5 nodes positive out of 18 taken.
    I have been working full time for long time. I am of the understanding the immune system is compromised by our cancer and treatments. So do believe that we are more suseptible to infections adn viruses. I know that since my treatments I am usually sick more by catching anything that comes by way. This is a frustrating situation to have to deal with but could be worse. I never had this trouble before cancers. I think working and working with people one will get sicker due to all the germs available. The lymph nodes helped keep us healthy until they were taken out. They are to help flush out our systems of junk.
    This is what I know and this is what happens to me especially in the winter months.
    Hope this helps you.