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.
Thrombocytopenia is a blood disease characterised by an abnormally small number of platelets, also called thrombocytes, in the blood. They stop bleeding by helping the blood to clot and plugging damaged blood vessels.
Thrombocytopenia occurs when the body does not make enough platelets, is losing platelets, or destroys platelets. Thrombocytopenia is common in individuals with cancer, especially in those receiving chemotherapy.
Many things can cause thrombocytopenia in children, most commonly infections (especially viral infections) and destruction of platelets by the immune system (called immune thrombocytopenia or ITP). Children with thrombocytopenia may also have lower numbers of other blood cell types, such as red and white blood cells, depending on the cause.
Symptoms often do not occur until the level of platelets is very low, which is why many individuals do not know they have thrombocytopenia until it is diagnosed during a blood test.
Some types of chemotherapy and some other medications damage the bone marrow, lowering its production of platelets. Thrombocytopenia caused by chemotherapy is usually temporary; in very cases, the chemotherapy may permanently damage some of the bone marrow cells that make platelets.
Individuals with certain types of cancer or those who are undergoing a type of cancer treatment known to cause thrombocytopenia may be given regular blood tests to look for thrombocytopenia and other blood-related complications.
Read more about the Effects, Signs and Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment and more regarding Thrombocytopenia on our static page, Thrombocytopenia in Childhood Cancer