Resources and information for parents of children with cancer . . . by parents of children with cancer.

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Blood Counts

Note: This section has health/medical information. It was not written by a health care professional. The medical references are the web sites listed in the text below (accessed 2010) and the book:

Complete blood counts, or CBCs, are routine during treatment for childhood cancers. Blood is drawn from a vein or through the port (if your child has one). Blood counts are ordered to monitor a child's response to treatment and, in the leukemias, to make sure that there are no cancer cells in the peripheral blood.

Several blood components are monitored in CBC and if the values are too far out of designated ranges, treatment may be stopped or altered until the counts recover. One of the important blood counts that is watched is the white blood cell count, or WBC. If the white blood counts are too low, the child is neutropenic. Neutropenic means that the immune system is depressed, that the child is immunocompromised and unable to fight off infections. It is measured by the ANC, absolute neutrophil count:

If the ANC is >1000, the patient can live a relatively normal life. If it is 500-1000, he is entering the danger zone. If it is <500, he has to avoid crowded places. Under 500 is designated "neutropenic". ANC is also known as AGC (absolute granulocyte count).

The following web sites have excellent blood count information:

Normal values:

General Disclaimer

These pages are intended for informational purposes only and are not intended to render medical advice. The information provided on Ped Onc Resource Center should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you suspect your child has a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.

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