Ask the Expert: Chemotherapy

Oncologist Dr. Steve Eisenberg answers some of the most commonly asked questions about chemotherapy, including neutropenia, low white blood cell counts, and the side effects of chemotherapy.

What is neutropenia and how are its effects treated?

UP NEXT: What effect can a low white blood cell count have?

What is neutropenia and how are its effects treated?

UP NEXT: What effect can a low white blood cell count have?

Any patient going through chemotherapy is at risk for neutropenia and a serious bacterial infection. That's why we check the blood counts on a weekly basis on every patient getting chemotherapy.

What effect can a low white blood cell count have?

UP NEXT: What can patients expect after completing chemotherapy?

What effect can a low white blood cell count have?

UP NEXT: What can patients expect after completing chemotherapy?

When someone's going through chemotherapy, all three of their blood counts are prone to drop. White blood cells fight infection, so your risk of infection goes up. Hemoglobin carries oxygen, gives you energy, so you're fatigued. Platelets stop bleeding, so you have a risk of bleeding when your platelets are low.

What can patients expect after completing chemotherapy?

UP NEXT: What are the common side effects of chemotherapy?

What can patients expect after completing chemotherapy?

UP NEXT: What are the common side effects of chemotherapy?

After completing a full course of chemotherapy, one can be extremely fatigued and it can take quite some time to fully recover. Your hair will start to grow back within I would say 2 to 3 months. The fatigue level will start to diminish over time once you get back into your normal routine. I think it's important to get that activity going and start some physical therapy, start your body moving again so you can start to feel normal.

What are the common side effects of chemotherapy?

UP NEXT: Get questions to ask your doctor and learn about low white blood cell counts, chemotherapy complications, and drugs that can alleviate side effects.

What are the common side effects of chemotherapy?

UP NEXT: Get questions to ask your doctor and learn about low white blood cell counts, chemotherapy complications, and drugs that can alleviate side effects.

When someone's going through a course of chemotherapy, there's many side effects can occur, but the most common are low blood counts. And that can be the white blood cells, the red blood cells and the platelets. You can also expect nausea and vomiting, very common, hair loss or alopecia and generalized fatigue.

Learn more about low white blood cell counts, chemotherapy complications, and drugs that can alleviate side effects.


Table of Contents
  • Question 1

    What is neutropenia and how are its effects treated?

  • Question 2

    What effect can a low white blood cell count have?

  • Question 3

    What can patients expect after completing chemotherapy?

  • Question 4

    What are the common side effects of chemotherapy?

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