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Low white cell count and Cancer

Learn how low white cell count and cancer are connected to each other, what causes it, and ways to manage it. Find out when to worry about your WBC levels and the best steps to take for your health.

  • Cancer
By Sakshi More 11th Apr '24 14th Apr '24
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White blood cells (WBCs) are essential defenders of our immune system. It protects us from infections. Unfortunately, cancer treatments such as chemotherapy can significantly reduce these cells, leading to a condition known as neutropenia. This condition makes patients more susceptible to infections and can complicate cancer treatment schedules. Understanding the implications of a low white cell count with cancer is crucial for early diagnosis and effective management.

Did you know?
Critically low white blood cell counts can increase the risk of serious infections!

Concerned about your white blood cell count? Book an Appointment with our experts today! to get the best guidance for your health.

Should I Worry if my WBC is Low?

A low white blood cell count, medically known as leukopenia, can cause concern. This condition might impair your body's ability to fight infections and perform other immune functions efficiently. However, it's important to consult your oncologist to understand the severity and underlying causes of this condition.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry, we've got you. Understand what low WBC results in, with us.

What is the Most Common Reason for Low White Blood Cell Count?

  • Viral infections often disrupt bone marrow, temporarily reducing white blood cell production.
  • Autoimmune diseases can mistakenly target and decrease white blood cell counts.
  • Severe infections strain the immune system, lowering white blood cell levels.
  • Malnutrition: Inadequate nutrition can impair bone marrow function and white blood cell production.
  • Cancer Treatments: Chemotherapy and radiation therapy frequently decrease WBC counts by damaging bone marrow.

Let us read together and learn more about the link between Low WBCs and Cancer.

Does Low White Blood Cells Mean Cancer?

While low white blood cells alone do not confirm the presence of cancer, they can be a side effect of cancer treatment or a symptom of the cancer itself, particularly cancers that affect the bone marrow.

But what exactly does this mean for you? Let's break down the causes and how you can address them effectively.

  • Bone Marrow Invasion: Certain cancers, such as leukaemia, directly affect the bone marrow, reducing its ability to produce white blood cells.
  • Chemotherapy and Radiation: These treatments can damage bone marrow cells, hindering white blood cell production.
  • Therapeutic Side Effects: Some cancer medications other than chemotherapy or radiation may also lower white blood cell counts as a side effect.

Want to know more about managing your immune health? Schedule a Consultation with us and get to know more about low white blood cell count and cancer in-depth information and tips from experts.

Symptoms of Low White Blood Cells

  • Frequent Infections: Patients with low WBC counts may experience infections more often than usual, as their immune system is less capable of fighting off bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
  • Fever: A common sign that the body is fighting an infection; fevers in low WBC may occur frequently and with little to no other symptoms.
  • Fatigue: Constant tiredness and a lack of energy can result from the body's increased vulnerability to infections and attempts to compensate for a weakened immune system.
  • Malaise: This generalized feeling of discomfort, illness, or unease often accompanies a diminished immune response and is a non-specific symptom of low WBC count.

Before you go, remember that managing your health is a journey, not a sprint.
Learn the diagnosis and how to manage low WBC count to keep your immune system strong!


  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): A blood test to measure the levels of white blood cells, among other components.
  • Physical Examination: Assessment of symptoms and review of medical history.
  • Bone Marrow Biopsy: Sometimes necessary to determine the cause of decreased white blood cell production.

What do you do if you have low WBCs?

  • Medications: Growth factors like filgrastim may be prescribed to stimulate WBC production.
  • Adjusting Cancer Treatment: Modifying chemotherapy or radiation doses to minimize the impact on WBCs.
  • Infection Prevention: Implementing strict hygiene practices to reduce infection risks.
  • Dietary Improvements: Ensuring adequate nutrition to support bone marrow function.
  • Regular Monitoring: Frequent blood tests to track WBC levels and adjust treatment plans accordingly.

Navigate the challenges of low WBC counts and Cancer. Contact Us Now! and understand more to make the best decision for your overall health.

Complications to Watch For with Low WBC Count

  • Severe Infections: Increased risk of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections due to compromised immune defences.
  • Infection Monitoring: It is essential to closely observe signs of infection, as immediate treatment is crucial.
  • Progression of Infection: Untreated infections can rapidly become more severe and systemic, potentially leading to life-threatening conditions like sepsis.

What Can You Do to Maintain Healthy White Blood Cells?

  • Balanced Diet: Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods to support bone marrow function.
  • Hygiene Practices: Maintain excellent personal hygiene to reduce infection risks.
  • Regular Exercise: Engage in moderate physical activity to boost overall health and immune function.
  • Adequate Sleep: Ensure sufficient sleep to help the body repair and regenerate.
  • Stress Management: Reduce stress through meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to help maintain immune health.
  • Avoid Exposure: Stay clear of known infection sources and crowded places, especially during cold and flu season.


While a low white blood cell count can be alarming, understanding its causes, implications for cancer, and appropriate management can help lower the risks. By understanding the risks and taking proactive steps to prevent infection, patients can better manage their health during their cancer journey.



  1. How do I get my WBC back to normal?
    Improving your white blood cell count may involve treating underlying causes, such as infections or nutritional deficiencies, or adjusting cancer treatments under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
  2. What is the serious WBC count?
    A WBC count lower than 3,000 cells per microliter of blood is generally considered low and can be serious, warranting further medical investigation.
  3. Is 3.8 WBC too low?
    A WBC count of 3.8 is below the normal range (typically 4,500 to 10,000 cells per microliter). While it is not critically low, it may suggest a mild leukopenia, requiring monitoring and possibly further testing.

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Question and Answers

Sir my mother has been affected by peri ampullary carcinoma. She is 45 years old now. I need help from you. In the world i don't have anyone except my mother.

Female | 45

This form of cancer causes symptoms such as jaundice, weight loss, and belly pain. It starts when cells near the ampulla of Vater begin growing out of control. Treatment typically involves surgery followed by chemotherapy. You must collaborate closely with her physician to determine the most effective course of action for your mother. Be strong and be there for her during this difficult time.

Answered on 10th June '24

Dr. Sridhar Susheela

Dr. Sridhar Susheela

Does cancer come back in everyone who is cured after treatment?

Male | 22

When an individual undergoes treatment and the disease fades away, it’s a relief. Nonetheless, there are times when it recurs after going into remission. It is contingent on the kind of malignancy one has as well as the method used for healing it. Signs that can indicate its reoccurrence may be similar to those experienced during the first onset such as unexplained weight loss, fatigue, or formation of new masses. To avoid its resurgence, you need to keep seeing your doctor for regular checkups besides living healthily. 

Answered on 11th June '24

Dr. Sridhar Susheela

Dr. Sridhar Susheela

He is infected of perenial fistula. And for years ,almost 9 surgeries was operated for him. And his colonscopy result before 1 and half year said normal. But now when MRI is taken ,shows some small tumors and may be T4N1MX adenocarcinoma cancer IS created but the other results like colonoscopy says normal , biopsy result says non diagnostic, CT SCAN result says it is better for him to take the test after 6 months, the blood test says normal and other organs like kidney, liver...are all normal. He has normal medical result apart from the cancer and now he is taking chemiotherapy treatment so what shall I do

Male | 64

When you have adenocarcinoma, you must stick to the treatment plan your doctor gives you. Chemotherapy is used often for treating this type of cancer. Just try to follow the treatment schedule, eat well, and get enough rest. 

Answered on 6th June '24

Dr. Ganesh Nagarajan

Dr. Ganesh Nagarajan

I am suffering from severe stomach pain due to colon cancer stage 4, any medicine for pain relief

Male | 53

This pain occurs because the tumor is pressing on your belly inside. To relieve it, the doctor can prescribe you stronger drugs than those sold in the drugstore. These medicines are designed to ease the pain and make you comfortable. Keep telling your doctor how you feel so that they can change the medication when necessary to control the pain effectively.

Answered on 23rd May '24

Dr. Sridhar Susheela

Dr. Sridhar Susheela

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