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Persistent Iron-deficiency Anemia

oldbeauty
Posts: 303
Joined: May 2012

Two and one-half years out from 12 rounds of Carboplatin & Taxol chemotherapy, my blood work shows persistent iron-deficiency anemia.  I have been taking 65 mg daily Iron for at least one year, together with Vitamin C, and I eat daily protein of red meat, chicken, fish, legumes, etc. and plenty of the "good" veggies.  Since December 2018, I am being followed for a very slow-growing lung nodule (5mm to 7.5 mm in 14 months), and Dr. Google says high TIBC and low iron saturation may be a cancer marker.  I am dialoguing with my wellness/survivorship oncologist.  But I am wondering if anyone here has dealt with this and can offer insight or personal solutions.  Thank you.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 936
Joined: Feb 2016

Sure you don't have any bleeding anywhere?

oldbeauty
Posts: 303
Joined: May 2012

I don't notice dark stool.  I thought for the longest time it was related to the daily monster diarrhea I had for well over year.  My new fuctional medicine doc told me to start a probotic last Spring, and I did.  It has resolved the daily diarrhea (tho' I still have some bouts) and I have gained a few pounds as a result.  So I'm flustered.  I see my PCP soon and I'll talk to her about doing a fecal occult blood test.  I had a colonscopy after chemo ended and I was clear.  Thanks for your response.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

LisaPizza's picture
LisaPizza
Posts: 340
Joined: Feb 2018

Celiac disease is another thing that can cause iron deficiency anemia that's resistant to iron supplementation. Celiac disease doesn't necessarily cause diarrhea or other abdominal symptoms, and it won't show up on colonoscopy. It's diagnosed by bloodwork (antibodies) and then confirmed with upper GI endoscopy.

oldbeauty
Posts: 303
Joined: May 2012

Thanks, LisaPizza.  My docs tested me for celiac awhile ago and ruled it out.  My bloodwork was worse in late 2018 and while they were doing various tests, including for celiac and leukemia, they discovered the lung nodule with a CT.  I am really mystified.  I know chemo is a cause but I'm 2 years out from that.  I feel well (or at least I think I do).  Thanks for your suggestion.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

Forherself's picture
Forherself
Posts: 503
Joined: Jan 2019

I seem to remember that we gave iron injections to people who were not absorbing iron orally.  it requires a special z track method, but they are more effective than oral therapy.  Worth a try if they still do them.  

oldbeauty
Posts: 303
Joined: May 2012

Thank you, Forherself.  I did get injections of Vitamin B12 for awhile bc it, too was very low from chemo.  I switched over to tablets at least 18 months ago, and this latest bloodwork showed B12 as now "high."  I am going to ask for Iron injection now and see what the doc says.  Thank you for your advice.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

Mercorby
Posts: 32
Joined: Jan 2017

You may actually have enough iron.  There are other tests for that.  I am anemic from Ibrance, but I have plenty of iron.  I think that was also the case when I was on chemo infusions as well.  I tried to compensate with B12, but my B12 levels went up crazy high, they were fine to begin with too. 

Corby

diagnosed 4/15, recurred 9/16 and 9/17, in remission for 2 1/3 yrs while on Ibrance

oldbeauty
Posts: 303
Joined: May 2012

My one doc is not worried; she says I'm not storing as much iron as I could.  But she doesn't detect any dangers.  But I'm curiuos...what other tests are there to detect whether I have enough iron.  We test ferretin, iron% and total iron binding capacity (TIBC).  One is high and the other is correspondingly low, which indicates iron-deficiency anemai.  Your response is gratefully acknowledged.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

Mercorby
Posts: 32
Joined: Jan 2017

oldbeauty,

Iron + TIBC

Ferritin

Erythropoietin

 

I was high in all of these.  My body has enough iron, but because of Ibrance, I can't access it, so I am anemic. I am pretty active (swimmer).  My doctor thinks my body has adapted to being anemic.  My hemoglobin is usually 10.1 - 10.4.  I hope that helps.

 

oldbeauty
Posts: 303
Joined: May 2012

Yes, it does help. Thank you.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

Mercorby
Posts: 32
Joined: Jan 2017

You may actually have enough iron.  There are other tests for that.  I am anemic from Ibrance, but I have plenty of iron.  I think that was also the case when I was on chemo infusions as well.  I tried to compensate with B12, but my B12 levels went up crazy high, they were fine to begin with too. 

Corby

diagnosed 4/15, recurred 9/16 and 9/17, in remission for 2 1/3 yrs while on Ibrance

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