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Low White Blood Cell Count Treatment & Prognosis

Understanding Low White Blood Cell Counts: Page 3

By , Caring.com senior editor
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How long will it take for low white blood cell count to come back up?

It's common for white blood cell count to begin to drop a few days after each chemo treatment and will be at its lowest level during weeks two and three following chemo. Then, as the bone marrow gradually begins to recover and produce new white blood cells, the count will rise. If this doesn't happen, or if you see signs of infection, the doctor may prescribe another CSF to try to boost white blood cell production.

If someone's white blood cell count is low, but he or she is otherwise healthy, is there reason to worry?

That's the mystery of it: Almost every cancer patient experiences a drop in white count following chemotherapy (also after some types of radiation), but only a small percentage of patients experience serious infection. Whether someone is going to get sick depends on a host of factors, such as age, another condition that might affect the immune system, other medications, and his or her general state of health before the chemo. The doctor will likely say not to worry about a low white blood cell count unless the absolute neutrophil count, or ANC, drops into the high-risk category. And even then, the usual strategy is to simply become more vigilant in watching for signs of infection.