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Anemia from chemotherapy - how long does it take to resolve? What were your symptoms?

Posts: 167
Joined: Apr 2011

Hi everyone,

I am happily out of my last chemotherapy, but am anemic from it. My symptoms are fatigue and possibly sweating. I can't figure out if the sweeting is from my possible menopause or from the anemia, as I understand it can be signs of either. Did any of you girls become anemic from chemo? If so, what where your symptoms and how quickly did the anemia resolve after you finished chemo? I finished 4 rounds of cytoxan/taxotere a week ago.

All comments much appreciated!


Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

Does your blood work/labs show you have anemia or are you assuming you have it? If your blood work results show anemia your oncologist should be addressing this issue...but fatigue is a BIG factor with chemo....

Hope you feel better...

Posts: 3659
Joined: Aug 2009

Is blood work showing anemia? IF it does, then your Dr's should be addressing the problem.

Fatigue can be a 'sign' of many things other than (or in conjunction with) anemia. Thyroid is a possibility (found out at my last 6mth appt with PA taht my thyroid had decided to quite working and that was why I'd been tireder for a while - on pills now and back to 'normal' feeling), vitamin/mineral imbalance, lack of exercise, weather, depression are just a few of the possibilities.

Remember that it takes a while for your body to get back to it's new 'normal'
after chemo and rads - quicker for some than others.

A call to your Dr might be a good idea.


jnl's picture
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

I didn't have chemo, but, I would imagine that fatigue would be a side effect that would last for some time.

Feel better, Leeza

linpsu's picture
Posts: 747
Joined: Mar 2010

Bloodwork will quickly determine whether you have anemia. I had it during my chemo treatments (4 A/C, 4 Taxol) and I had to have 2 blood transfusions. Extreme
fatigue was my major and overwhelming symptom - I could barely move. As soon as I had the transfusions, I felt much better right away. Linda

Posts: 176
Joined: Oct 2010

I echo what everyone else has said. Chemo can cause anemia and cause you to be tired. Radiation can also cause those symptoms. But your bloodwork will show if it's a problem and needs treatment. I was given Neulasta shots after each chemo treatment and my bloodwork was good all the way through chemo. During rads, I developed a low platelet level which the onc said could be treated with steroids if it got really bad. But after a few weeks of monitoring and a few weeks out of rads, it righted itself. (I also started exercising and taking a multivitamin). Best to you. Barbara

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

chemo. Ended up with blood transfusion .. Cream of Wheat is rich in iron, as well.

Here is some general information:

Treatment & Relief Methods
Treatments and relief methods vary based on what type of anemia you have. People with chronic anemia, for example, may require prescription medications including recombinant erythropoietins for patients who experience anemia due to chemotherapy.

Patients who experience anemia due to blood loss may require a blood transfusion. These treatments are typically for patients with acute anemia due to a sudden injury.

The most common treatment and relief methods involve specialized diets and nutritional supplements. The doctor might ask you to consume more foods such as spinach, peanuts, eggs, and prune juice. The doctor might also ask you to monitor your diet closely and make sure that you eat important meals, like breakfast.

Vicki Sam

Norma J.
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2016

Hi VickiSam! I'm new hear as of just a few minutes ago. I just had my fifth chemo and am getting the Neulasta shot after each. The shot rebuilds your white blood cells (to help prevent infection), not the red blood cells, which too few of cause anemia. There are other meds I've read about that do rebuild RBC's, but apparently they can have some serious side effects, that may be more common than the effects of Neulasta. I may have to have a transfusion before my next treatment. I hope not, there are risks from that also. Anyway, I'm getting more and more fatigued and short of breath a lot of times. I hope you are doing better and I wish you all the best!

poplolly's picture
Posts: 346
Joined: Apr 2011

My oncologist said from my blood tests that I did weekly during chemo that I had low iron. She put me on 3 Fesol a day, which is an iron tablet, for the rest of the chemo.


Posts: 167
Joined: Apr 2011

Hi girls!

Thanks for all the replies! Sorry for being unclear. Yes, my bloodwork shows that I am anemic. My doctor told me I was anemic, but did not suggest any remedy other than time. From my own research I have found that when you are anemic from chemo no special diet will resolve it, since the problem is not a lack of building blocks for the body. So I was just wondering how long that time is? Does anyone know?

Thanks so much,


LoveBabyJesus's picture
Posts: 1680
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi Eva -- I am sorry to hear you have another worry. I haven't checked my blood yet - although I feel weak at times. I finished chemo 2 weeks ago. Although they say diets don't help, I would still push it through foods to see if it works for you. All this research is mostly based on statistics, sometimes, and hey they might work for you. What helped me during chemo was eating beets, lentils, red kidney beans, bight-colored peppers (raw), spinach, liver and broccoli. They also suggest red meat, but if you are estrogen +, I wouldn't try that.

Sorry I can't help you any further, but I suggest to try the diet in the meantime. I hope your blood work is back to normal and better very soon.

Please keep us posted.

mamolady's picture
Posts: 796
Joined: May 2011

I added an extra serving of protein to my diet during chemo so I think that is why I didn't have that trouble. I have a friend that is 3 years out from chemo and still anemic. She has to take iron now. Your doc seems to think it will resolve though. So for any thing chemo related give it 6 months to a year.


Posts: 51
Joined: Sep 2010

at the start of chemo. My onc prescribed iron pills. I took them for a few weeks and worked on changing my diet and it seem to resolve itself. I don't eat a lot of meat, and thankfully was able to eat during chemo.


Posts: 110
Joined: Jun 2011

Finished chemo April 2010, Herceptin Nov. 2010. During chemo I had to be given injections of Procrit (red blood cell builder) and Neulasta (sp?) (to increase white blood cells. June 2011 blood test shows everything within normal limits, but in March 2011 I still had lower red blood cell count. Both WBC and RBC however, are lower than what they were before the chemo started, Hemoglobin is back to what it was before.

Posts: 167
Joined: Apr 2011

I asked my MO about diet but she just said to eat normal and varied. I try to eat much vegetables and iron rich food like sea weed. Thanks for sharing and all your suggestions! I'm in for new bloodwork in about a week. Then I have surgery scheduled to take out my port. Then radiation should start unless my counts are crap. Fingers crossed.


Posts: 116
Joined: May 2011

Mine has not been so much from chemo but I have bone mets and they are slowing down my bone marrow. I have had 5 transfusions this summer. I think the main thing I notice is shortness of breath when my counts are down.

Posts: 116
Joined: May 2011

Mine has not been so much from chemo but I have bone mets and they are slowing down my bone marrow. I have had 5 transfusions this summer. I think the main thing I notice is shortness of breath when my counts are down.

Posts: 167
Joined: Apr 2011

Im so sorry to hear about your mets. My thoughts are with you. I too notice the shortness of breath.


padee6339's picture
Posts: 765
Joined: Jun 2009

I have been out of chemo since March of 2009 and I am still anemic. I have to go to my oncologist every 2 to three weeks for the "bee sting" shot. She even gave me a horrible, painful shot in the butt about 4 months ago and the skin is still discolored around the shot site. I have to go again tomorrow. Sometimes I feel like this hell will never end. I go from depressed to exhausted. My knees are so painful I can't walk without a cane and I still get short of breath. I take huge horse pills of iron and it still doesn't work. Sorry for the downer post, but sometimes I just feel like there is too much pulling at me and I want to stick my head in the sand.

Posts: 167
Joined: Apr 2011

Pat, Im so sorry to hear about your struggle. Sometimes letting out your frustration helps. Wishing you all the best.


Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

So sorry Pat to read all that you are going thru now.

Praying for you,


jendrey's picture
Posts: 377
Joined: Sep 2009

The oncologist told me I was anemic before any treatment was started. During chemo I was prescribed a 30 day supply of iron tablets. Presumably to be refilled but since that doctor elected to leave for a shorter commute; the interest in my anemia apparently went with him.

It's been a little over a year since my last chemo and I'm still anemic. I know because sometimes the new oncologist will briefly mention it - yet still does nothing about it for whatever reason or lack thereof. I truly wish I could say nice things about them...

As for symptoms, I guess just an overall lack of energy which likely excaberates my procrastination problem or vice versa! =)

ppurdin's picture
Posts: 1151
Joined: Jul 2009

I was just told I am a animic.Boarder line.Dint seem to pay much mind.I have two more treatments to go.Like you I am tired all the time.

LouisaP's picture
Posts: 57
Joined: Feb 2015

Hi. I was anemic. The usual signs are being tired or feeling severely fatigued. Worse than just being tired. There's no way to even guess how long something will last. It could get worse. Your Dr should have yoiyoiu on oral iron supplements at least. I needed IV iron. Ask your Dr about taking iron pills.

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