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Chemo delayed due to low platelet level


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Originally my mom was scheduled for six rounds of chemo. Because she did so well, the doctor prescribed two more rounds. When it was time for her seventh round, her platelet level was a 71 and she was not able to have chemo. She had to wait an additional week and a half. Now she is ready for her last round and her platelet level is even lower, 52. I know it's not dangerous.. they worry at ten and under, but I am very concerned about the wait time between treatments.

After the first four rounds, my mom's mass had shrunk by 77%. Now my moms mass was very large, 5 by 5.5 cm. The last two rounds of chemo only showed minimal improvements, however the doc thought she should do two more rounds. Is it a big risk to wait weeks in between because her body isn't ready for chemo or should she move on to radiation.. the next step. I'm just so worried that they will come back and say that it has grown because she has had so many weeks off.

I feel bad because I keep telling my mom to talk to her doc about it.. I havent told her my concern of it growing, but that I want to be as agressive as we can.. But I think I upset her a little tonight. She says she has to have faith in her doc.. and I do.. I just worry that waiting for one more round of chemo which only showed minimal improvements isnt worth waiting. It took my mom a week and a half to go from 71 to 102. It will take much longer to go from 52 to 100+.

Do any of you have any experiences or thoughts on this? I would greatly appreciate it.

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The wait should not result in a turn around on the progression of the tumor. I think the chem is in your system for several weeks. Also, even no change, but stable is a good result, so by all means take minimal.

I had low platelets a few times during my first round of chemo (11 cycles). Once I even needed a platelet transfulsion. Between platelets and white counts, there were several 3 week cycles that were really five weeks. I didn't show any growth due to this.

Good luck.


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I don't know enough about platelets to weigh in on that, but we have had 'setbacks' in Mom's treatment schedule that worried me, too. She was orginially supposed to do Gemzar every week at a low dose, and even at that low dose she had to back off to every two weeks. She is still doing remarkably well, though.

One of the hardest things about being a caregiver is having strong opinions that aren't necessarily backed by our loved ones. You've done what you can to express your feelings, as you should, but now you have to follow Mom's lead. That has been hard for me, I know.

I hope she is perky soon, and able to resume her treatments.

:) Kelly

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It sounds weird. Peanut coats will help increase platelets. 1. take peanut coats (the red thin coats)out from peanuts. 2. mix with water and boil it for minutes until the water becomes red. 3. taking out the peanut coats out of water and drink the water. You should drink one or twice a day. The taste is not good, but it helps. It is a way to increase your platelets in Chinese traditional medicine.


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My husband is also having lots of problems with his platelets. I asked the onc. about the shot of "artifical" platletts and he said that it wasn't any good. So with my husband he's constantly being monitored, and they've gone up a little, cumulative effects of some chemo will do that and will stay in your system for a long time.

I haven't heard about the peanut red skins, but I have heard that vitamin K can help platelets, you can find that in foods like beef liver, and many of your green veggies...I hope the best for your mom..


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Low Platelets

There are many reasons why a cancer patient may feel tiredness and fatigue. Some of them are:


There are three main types of cells in your blood: white cells, red cells and platelets. Platelets help the blood to clot, so that heavy bleeding does not occur when you cut or hurt yourself. When there are not enough platelets in the blood, you may bruise or bleed easily

How to know if your platelets are low:

The only true way to know if your platelets are low is to have a blood sample taken; the lab technician will count the number of platelets. This is called a platelet count. Normally, the platelet count will be 150 or higher, but it may drop as low as 75 to 100 without serious harm during chemotherapy.

There are some signs of internal or external bleeding, which might occur if your platelets are low, such as:

Easy bruising

Tiny pinpoint red or purple dots on your skin

Unusual or heavy nosebleeds

Red or pink coloured urine

Black, tar-like stools (bowel movements), or blood in the stools

Red or brown coloured sputum or vomit

Dizziness, constant headache or blurred vision (this may happen with bleeding in the head)

Bleeding from your gums, especially when brushing your teeth

Heavy vaginal bleeding

What should you do if you notice any of these symptoms:

If you have a very low platelet count, this is a medical emergency. You may need a platelet transfusion. Even if you feel reasonably well with these symptoms, you must contact your doctor or nurse IMMEDIATELY! Know when to expect your platelets to be low, and watch for any of bleeding during these times. Your nurse or doctor will tell you when to expect low platelet counts.

When your platelet count is low:

What You Should Do:

Before buying any prescription or over the counter medications, tell your pharmacist that your platelet count is may be low.

Avoid strenuous exercise. You will bruise more easily.

Use a soft bristle toothbrush, or toothettes to clean your teeth.

Be careful when using sharp knives, scissors and other sharp items.

If you cut yourself, clean the area well and apply firm pressure with a clean cloth for at least 5 minutes.

Check with your doctor before you have any dental check-ups or dental procedures; Inform your dentist about your condition when you call to make appointments.

Prevent constipation. If you need a laxative or stool softener, ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist for help. See the pamphlet Laxatives for more information.

Use a water-based lubricant during sexual intercourse, to reduce the chance of bleeding.

What you should not do:

DO NOT take ASA products during treatment. Use Acetaminophen products if needed. (See below)

Do not use rectal suppositories or enemas for constipation. Do not take your temperature with a rectal thermometer.

Do not shave with razor blades. Use an electric razor when platelet counts are low.

Do not participate in contact sports or other activities that could cause bruising.

Do not blow your nose with too much force (a nosebleed could be started).

Common Products Containing ASA: Aspirin®, Bufferin®, Anacin®, Entrophen®, Novasen®, Aspergum®, some Alka-Seltzer® products, and some cold preparations.

Common Products Containing Acetaminophen: Tylenol®, Atasol®, Excedrin®, Abenol® Suppositories, and some cold preparations. (Check with your doctor or pharmacist if a product contains ASA or Acetaminophen)

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