How does the immune system react of chemotherapy?

In between periods of chemotherapy, the number of white blood cells decrease which means that you are somewhat more susceptible to infection.


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Chemotherapy affects rapidly growing cells, and unfortunately affects chemo also the body's own healthy cells and especially blood-forming cells in bone marrow. The dose-limiting side effect (= why it is not possible to give higher doses of chemotherapy) is inhibition of the production of new white blood cells = leukocytes. Some chemotherapy drugs affect the white blood cells more than other drugs.  There is a big difference between different chemotherapy and chemotherapy combinations impact on the immune system. Ask your health care professional about this. Chemo also inhibits the production of red blood cells (hemoglobin = Hb = oxygen carrier) and platelets (platelets = important part in blood clotting). Inhibition of the production of red blood cells is seldom dramatic but it can induce fatigue after prolonged chemotherapy use. It's hard to get strong inhibition of platelets during conventional chemotherapy. However, if you get excessive nosebleed, red urine, or other bleeding, you should immediately contact a medical facility.


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