Cancer Treatment Side Effect: Anemia
What it is and why it occurs
Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. Anemia is when you have too few red blood cells to carry the oxygen your body needs. Your heart works harder when your body does not get enough oxygen. This can make it feel like your heart is pounding or beating very fast. Anemia can also make you feel short of breath, weak, dizzy, faint, or very tired.
Some types of chemotherapy cause anemia because they make it harder for bone marrow to produce new red blood cells.
Ways to manage
Your doctor or nurse will check your blood cell count throughout your chemotherapy. You may need a blood transfusion if your red blood cell count falls too low. Your doctor may also prescribe a medicine to boost (speed up) the growth of red blood cells or suggest that you take iron or other vitamins.
Last Editorial Review: 12/16/2009
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