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Low red blood cell count - Questions


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Hi -

How common are low red blood counts when going through chemo? What "number" is considered to be low? My mom had very low counts today -- but instead of cancelling the Gemzar, they gave her an infusion of a booster (I forgot what it was called..ughhh)

Does it take a long time for them to get back to acceptable levels? Is there anything that can be done (besides the medications?)

Thanks as always,


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Lowered blood counts are a fact of life with Chemo. Chemo's goal is to kill/destroy fast growing cells......blood cells fall into that category. I have been fortunate, my counts have always rebounded enough to permit the next chemo treatment, for many, procrit and other drugs are needed to help the blood counts recover. So, do not be alarmed by low counts, it is a natural occurrence.


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My FIL's red counts have been low. Right after his last treatment, they started him on a shot of Aranesp every two weeks - seemed to have worked ok because he went in for his third treatment today and his counts were a little better than before his last treatment.

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My counts have been low frequently. I've only missed one treatment after havng too low wht count week 1 and then too low platelet week 2. That was my second cycle. I'm now on my 6th and have aranesp every 2 weeks, take an iron supplement and have had 2 red blood cell transfusions and one platelet.

If my red is under 8, I get a transfusion - when it wasn't under, unfortunately it was 8.1. So I am struggling with the blood counts.

Best wishes.


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