What could be causing a low white-blood, red-blood, and low-platelet counts in a former cancer patient?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 28, 2016
Bigpurty asked...

My dad has had cancer in the past, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, although it has been gone for more than 10 years now. We recently discovered that his white blood cell count, red blood cell count, and platelet count are low. Could this mean his cancer has returned and what may be some other causes of these symptoms? Thanks.

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.

Low red blood cell counts and low platelet counts are side effects of chemotherapy because the chemotherapy drugs kill off the fast-growing bone marrow cells that boost red and white blood cell counts.

If your dad is not currently undergoing chemotherapy, it means it's not the chemotherapy drugs that are causing this, so you need to have your dad see his doctor and run tests to search for the cause. Follow-up care and treatment after non-Hodgkins lymphoma is very important as it can recur.