What does it mean when you have cancer and your white blood cells are low?
Why It Occurs
A person with cancer can develop a low WBC count from the cancer or from treatment for the cancer. Cancer may be in the bone marrow, causing fewer neutrophils to be made. The WBC count can also go down when cancer is treated with chemotherapy drugs, which slow bone marrow production of healthy WBCs.
What happens when white blood count is too low for chemo?
A low white blood cell (WBC) count, is one of the more serious side effects of chemotherapy. It can make it necessary to delay treatment to allow the WBC count to recover, and/or cause the care team to reduce the chemotherapy dose to prevent it from happening again.
What happens when white blood cells are too low?
A low WBC count can be serious because it increases your risk of developing a potentially life-threatening infection. Seek prompt medical care if you have a low WBC count and have signs of an infection, such as a fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, or skin lesions.
What is the most common reason for low white blood cell count?
A low white blood cell count usually is caused by: Viral infections that temporarily disrupt the work of bone marrow. Certain disorders present at birth (congenital) that involve diminished bone marrow function. Cancer or other diseases that damage bone marrow.
What are 7 warning signs of cancer?
Signs of Cancer
- Change in bowel or bladder habits.
- A sore that does not heal.
- Unusual bleeding or discharge.
- Thickening or lump in the breast or elsewhere.
- Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing.
- Obvious change in a wart or mole.
- Nagging cough or hoarseness.
How long does it take white blood cells to regenerate after chemo?
The white cell count generally falls below the normal range about seven to ten days after a chemotherapy treatment and recovers within about a week after that.
How can I raise my white blood cells fast?
Foods high in protein, such as lean meats and poultry, are high in zinc — a mineral that increases the production of white blood cells and T-cells, which fight infection. Other great sources of zinc are oysters, nuts, fortified cereal, and beans.
How can I increase my white blood cells after chemo?
CSFs help your body make more white blood cells. This lowers your risk for febrile neutropenia. CSFs include Neupogen (filgrastim), Neulasta (pegfilgrastim), and Leukine and Prokine (sargramostim). They are usually given as shots 24 hours after a chemotherapy treatment.
Can stress cause low white cell count?
In addition, stress decreases the body’s lymphocytes — the white blood cells that help fight off infection. The lower your lymphocyte level, the more at risk you are for viruses, including the common cold and cold sores.
What foods to avoid if you have low white blood cells?
Avoid raw milk, any yogurt or cheeses made with raw milk, and unpasteurized juice. Be sure to wash all fresh fruits and vegetables well. You may want to switch from fresh fruits and vegetables to cooked, canned, or frozen fruits and vegetables during treatment. Make sure that canned foods are safe.
How do you treat low white blood cells?
Medications can be used to stimulate your body to make more blood cells. Or you may be prescribed medications to clear up the cause of the reduced cell count, such as antifungals to treat fungal infections or antibiotics to treat bacterial infections.