Cancer Treatment - Bone Marrow Suppression and Chemotherapy
The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the type of chemotherapy and the amount given. Anticipating and managing side effects can help to minimize them and provide the best possible experience for the person receiving chemotherapy.
What is bone marrow suppression?
As each person's individual medical profile and diagnosis is different, so is his/her reaction to treatment. Side effects may be severe, mild, or absent. Be sure to discuss with your cancer care team any/all possible side effects of treatment before the treatment begins.
Nearly all chemotherapy agents suppress the bone marrow that, in turn, causes a reduction in the number of blood cells. The timing of this reduction varies according to which agents are used for your treatment. Red blood cells carry oxygen, white blood cells fight infection, and platelets help to control bleeding and bruising. Thus, the risks for anemia, fatigue, infection, bleeding, and bruising are increased with bone marrow suppression.
What are symptoms of bone marrow suppression?
The following are the most common symptoms of bone marrow suppression. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
Symptoms of a low red blood cell count may include:
- paleness of skin, lips, and nail beds
- increased heart rate
- easy tiring with exertion
- shortness of breath
Symptoms of a low white blood cell count may include:
- fever and chills
- signs of infection (anywhere in the body), including:
- an area that is warm to touch
Symptoms of a low platelet count may include:
- easy bruising
- bleeding: nose bleeds, gums, or mouth
- tiny red spots on the skin
- blood in the urine
- dark or black bowel movements
The symptoms of bone marrow suppression may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
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Disclaimer - This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information provided is intended to be informative and educational and is not a replacement for professional evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. © 2009 Staywell Custom Communications.