Complete Blood Count (CBC)

For future reference, I decided to track my mom’s hemoglobin, white blood cell and platelet counts during her first chemotherapy cycle.  Collectively, this is called the Complete Blood Count.  Since she was inpatient for this first round of chemotherapy, her blood count was calculated every morning.  Each cycle in the hyper-CVAD chemotherapy treatment takes about three weeks.  During those three weeks, the complete blood count (CBC) is monitored daily for irregularity.  Blood and platelet transfusions are given if needed.  Blood transfusions are given when my mom’s hemoglobin count is below 8.  I forgot when platelet transfusions are required (will update when I confirm).  The White Blood Cell (WBC) count is critical to watch since low WBC counts mean higher risk of infection.  The nadir period happens at about day 10-14.  This means that the white blood cell count is at its lowest and my mom is at greatest risk of infection.  Neutrophils are the most abundant white blood cells, so neutropenia is often measured by Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC).

  • Mild neutropenia (1000 ≤ ANC < 1500) — minimal risk of infection
  • Moderate neutropenia (500 ≤ ANC < 1000) — moderate risk of infection
  • Severe neutropenia (ANC < 500) — severe risk of infection.

Normal, healthy individuals have the range of 4.5-10 Billion White Blood Cells / Liter.

Units: Billion Cells/Liter


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