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Managing Bone Marrow Suppression

What is bone marrow suppression?

Nearly all chemotherapy agents cause a reduction of blood cell counts. When this reduction occurs it varies, according to which agents are used for your child's treatment. Red blood cells that carry oxygen, white blood cells that fight infection, and platelets that control bleeding are usually lowered with chemotherapy use. Risk for anemia, fatigue, infection, and bleeding are increased with bone marrow suppression. Common terms that you may hear that refer to blood cell reduction include the following:

While your child is undergoing chemotherapy treatment, these blood cell levels will be monitored frequently. Many parents like to keep track of their child's blood counts to record their progress. Ask your child's physician what levels are acceptable for your child.

What are symptoms of bone marrow suppression?

The following are the most common symptoms of bone marrow suppression. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Treatment and prevention of complications of bone marrow suppression:

There are several things you can do for your child to prevent complications of bone marrow suppression. Your child may be given specific medications to help stimulate the production of cells in the bone marrow. While you are waiting for your child's blood counts to return to a healthy range, consider the following:

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