Coping with Neutropenia in Childhood Cancer

Symptom Management, Palliative Care, or Supportive Care to relieve side-effects is an important part of cancer care and treatment and should always form part of the overall treatment plan.

Neutropenia is a low level of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell). All white blood cells help the body fight infection. Neutrophils are made in the bone marrow and fight infection by destroying harmful fungi, yeast or bacteria that invade the body.

Some level of neutropenia occurs in around 50% of individuals with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment, and it is a common side effect in those with leukaemia. If your child has neutropenia, pay close attention to their personal hygiene, such as hand washing, to lower their risk of infection.

Individuals who have neutropenia carry a higher risk of developing serious infections because they do not have enough neutrophils to destroy organisms that cause infection. Individuals with severe or long-lasting neutropenia are more likely to develop an infection.

Neutropenia itself may not cause any symptoms. Individuals usually find out they have neutropenia from a blood test or when an infection develops. Some people will feel more fatigued when they have neutropenia. Your child’s doctor may schedule regular blood tests to look for neutropenia and other blood-related side effects if they are undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

Any drop in neutrophil depends on the type or dose of chemotherapy. Neutrophil counts generally start to drop about a week after each round of chemotherapy begins and reach a low point called the nadir about 7 – 14 days after treatment. Your child is most likely to develop an infection at this point. Neutrophil levels will begin to rise again as your child’s bone marrow resumes normal production of neutrophils; it may take 3-4 weeks to reach a normal level again.


Read more about the Effects, Signs and Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment and more regarding Neutropenia on our static page, Neutropenia in Childhood Cancer




About LFCT

This is a blog about CHILDHOOD CANCER and CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a non-profit organisation that offers support and aid to Children with Cancer and their families. When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the whole family. One of the parents, usually the mother, must give up their job to care for the child and this creates financial problems for the family. In South Africa especially the majority of these families are not well-to-do; many of them are rural. A diagnosis of cancer can wipe out any family’s finances, let alone a poor family. The costs of special medications, special diets, hospital stays, transport to and from the hospital or clinic and accommodation and food costs for the mother who spends most of the time at her child’s bedside are astronomical. These are the people and problems that fall through the cracks, and these are the people that Little Fighters Cancer Trust has pledged to help in any way possible. LFCT takes a holistic approach to assisting the Children with Cancer and their Families, with the main aim to be the preservation of individual dignity and pride. Little Fighters Cancer Trust also focuses on promotion and advocacy of National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase awareness of Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. This would result in earlier diagnosis, giving the Child with Cancer more of a chance at Treatment and Survival. See "About" for more Background info

Posted on 30 June, 2016, in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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