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blood results

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I realise everyone has different conditions etc. But i was just wondering what is the lowest blood reading that would stop you getting your chemo treatment. I am a 63 year old woman who, apart from this cancer , is fit and well and not on any other medication other than those given by my oncologist. thank you

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Linda - Macmillan
Posted by

Hi Stef,

Thanks for getting back in touch, it’s only natural to want to understand how blood results can affect treatment.

Every drug used to treat cancer, either on its own or as a combination, will have its own protocol. This is a “set of rules” to say what the drug should be used for, the dose, and what the person’s health status should be to receive the treatment. This is so chemotherapy is given safely. As a result there’s no one overriding rule about blood readings, this will be specific to the protocol being used. However, in some cases specialists may make exceptions based on their clinical expertise.

Oncologists are eager that treatment is given on time, but they have to weigh up the benefits and risks of this too. If blood results indicate there’s increased potential for harm they will delay treatment until levels are acceptable. If this goes on for an extended period of time the benefit of the treatment may be reduced and the value of continuing with it will be discussed with the individual.

People often ask us about diet and other ways of boosting their blood count. We would recommend following a well-balanced diet as there are no studies that have offered strong evidence with specific strategies. In some cases where white cell counts are slow to recover treatment may be offered, depending on the circumstances and the clinical decision of the specialist.

You can ask your oncology team for a copy of your treatment protocol and they will be able to talk you through the “rules” for treatment.

I hope this helps and if we can offer more information or support don’t hesitate to get back in touch.

Take care, Linda (Cancer Information Nurse Specialist)