Where does the blood go that has to be replace due to chemo treatments?

2 answers | Last updated: Dec 01, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My brother's son is  undergoing chemotherapy.  He just had to have four units.  Would you please tell us where the blood goes that has to be replaced?

Expert Answers

Senior Editor Melanie Haiken, who is responsible for Caring.com's coverage of cancer, general health, and family finance, discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions.

The problem is not that your brother is losing blood, it's that his blood cell counts are low. This happens when chemotherapy drugs damage the bone marrow where new blood cells are produced. You can read more about low red blood cell counts and low platelet counts here. It's likely your brother needed the units of blood to replace low red blood cells or platelets or both. Transfusions are recommended when the body is not building its blood counts up fast enough on its own.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

My layman's way of understanding this was: you are not needing blood to replace blood loss as we usually think of why someone is receiving blood, but because the chemo is causing our bodies to NOT produce what is necessary to make blood properly. So it is not blood loss, but lack of proper production of the precursor cells that usually occurs in the making of blood. Hope I explained that correctly and it helps.