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Changes in the blood count caused by chemotherapy

Cause of the changed blood values

In addition to cancer cells, chemotherapy also destroys other rapidly dividing cells in the body. These include, for example, divisible stem cells of the bone marrow. Blood cells, also called blood cells, develop from these. As a result of this lack, this is Weakened immune system and the risk of bleeding increases. It can also lead to anemia, i.e. anemia. But let's first look at how the blood is built up.

The composition of the blood

Blood is made up of two components:
On the one hand the blood plasma, a liquid made from water and various proteins, on the other hand from three different types of blood cells, which will be discussed below.

Erythrocytes - The red blood cells

They make up 99% of all blood cells. Their most important task is to transport oxygen from the lungs to every single cell in the body.

Leukocytes - The white blood cells

They only make up about 1% of blood cells and are an essential part of the immune system. They render pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi harmless. The white blood cells can be divided into five groups, with the granulocytes, the so-called phagocytes, being the most common. Granulocytes enclose the invaders and digest them.

Platelets - blood platelets

The task of these smallest cells in the blood is to clot the blood. They ensure that bleeding comes to a standstill by attaching itself to the surrounding tissue when a blood vessel is damaged. In addition, they release substances that promote coagulation.

Chemotherapy can reduce the production of all of these blood cells. The extent of this damage is highly dependent on the individual patient and the treatment method and can neither be precisely predicted nor prevented. It is important that you and your doctor always keep an eye on your blood values. This is why the blood values ​​are regularly monitored using a blood count during and after chemotherapy.

Overview of blood values

Standard value

Worrying blood values

Possible consequence

Erythrocytes (red blood cells)

Women: 12-15 g / dl
Men: 13 - 16 g / dl

below 10 mg / dl


Leukocytes (white blood cells)

4,000 - 11,000 / μl

below 3000 / μl


Platelets (blood platelets)

150,000 - 400,000 / μl

below 50,000 / μl


If you are found to be deficient in one or more areas, there are a number of precautionary measures to be observed. In any case, it is important that you give yourself enough rest so that the blood can recover. Eat a healthy diet, get enough exercise and sleep, and seek outside help.

In the articles below, we look at the individual consequences separately and clarify what you can do yourself, what your doctor can do and what symptoms to watch out for.

Do you have any questions?
For free advice and questions about changes in the blood count, simply contact us by email, chat, video consultation or telephone. We are happy to take time for you.

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Possible consequences of changes in the blood count

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