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How often are treatments cancelled due to problems with patient's blood count?

Posts: 29
Joined: May 2009

Something was screwy with my husband's blood count (sorry I don't know what it was) and his chemo treatment for today was cancelled. He has only had 2 chemo treatments! How could his counts be so affected already? The staff at his oncologist's office were very serious cautioning him to not be around anyone sick, to keep taking his temperature, etc.

Does this happen often? What can he do to get his blood count back in check? Is it only to take a break from the chemo?

Thanks for any help.

denistd's picture
Posts: 578
Joined: Apr 2009

Postponing chemo due to low blood counts is very common. Cisplatin and other chemo's drive down your white blood cells and red blood cells, they also rough up your kidneys real bad. The blood cells will respond as will the kidney function by staying really hydrated. The doctor tells you to watch your temperature as your immune system is compromised whilst the chemo is running through your body. Don't be alarmed just get the fluid down and follow the doc's advice.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I concur with denis. The counts most likely affected are white blood cell counts and platelets. The white blood cell counts (WBC) can be adjusted rather quickly by receiving a shot of neupogen. Platelets, on the other hand, as far as I know from personal experience, require that you simply build them back up.

Denis' advice re hydration is instrumental regardless. The staff's advice is also spot on. While we are undergoing treatment, regardless of counts, but especially when they are low, we are much more susceptible to illness, infection. I managed to end up in the ER twice as a result of being pricked by rose bushes, of all things! (Okay, I started it by trying to snip them, but still!)

I am not a proponent of masks or germaphobia, but I do advise care, staying off of airplanes if possible, staying out of hospitals (:)), that sort of thing. People WILL sneeze. People WILL cough. Do not cut them out of your lives or become angry with them. I do not think the onco staff mean that. They are merely suggesting prudence, as in wearing gloves while working in the yard :).

I probably skipped three or four chemo treatments altogether, maybe a few more, and they were simply added at the end. I personally considered those skipped treatments like playing hookie, as if I were getting a break. No harm, no foul, in my case, as I am now NED (No Evidence of Disease).

Best wishes to hub and to his family and friends.

Take care,


SASH's picture
Posts: 399
Joined: Apr 2006

I had to miss 3 weeks in a row once and 4 weeks in a row another time because my white count was low. My chemo was scheduled for once a week and should have ended around the same time as my radiation, but because of the low counts it lasted an extra 2 1/2 months. Procrit can be prescribed for low red blood cell counts and the nuepregen (sp?) for white. I was given Procrit but never the nuepregen even though it was my white counts that caused the chemo to be postponed.

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