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Ask about leukaemia

Ask Caroline, a Macmillan Nurse working with people who have Leukaemia, Myelodysplasia and Myeloproliferative diseases. She'll aim to respond within 2 working days.


Posted by

Hi Caroline,

Just a bit of info please. I was diognosed with CMML March 16.  Up to date I have not received any treatment.  However for most of this year I have been experiencing horrendous skin irritation to perdomitally my arms and leg, and not able to bath or shower.  I have been on pre gabalin, and fexafenadine (180mg) for six month now, however the symptoms have returned (they never went completely) I have seen a dermatologist with no luck. On my last visit to heamotology I was informed my white blood cells have increased from 9 to 14, and have been told they now need to be monitored more frequently.  What I would like to know is , is 14 way to high and cause for concern?

Thanking you


Caroline- Macmillan

Hi Debbie,

Don't panic. Yes, your white cell count has increased but not significantly. You haven't said whether it is the monocyte count or total white cell count that is 14 but I suspect it is the monocyte count.  The team are right to keep an eye on the trend. This is in case the cells go up significantly over a short period of time. This would mean that you would need treatment.

The skin irritation that you have been experiencing is part of the illness. It is because you have lots of a type of white blood cell called monocytes. This is similar to the symptoms experienced by MPN patients. Here is a link to MPN voice page dealing with itch. You could try some of these to see if they help.

If you start to experience flu like symptoms (aches and pains, chills or temperatures, night sweats) or hard to shift infections before your next appointment, contact the hospital to arrange an earlier appointment. 

This may be a small rise that will stabilise again and this is common. But your team are right to keep an eye on you. If you have any more questions, please contact me again. Hope this helps.

Caroline - Macmillan  Information Nurse Specialist

Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.