"My oncologist always talks about white blood cell counts and how they can be dangerous to my health. I have tried asking my doctor questions about it, but I just don't understand his answers. Can you explain in simple terms what it means to have a white blood cell count and how it affects my health?"
Lorraine's question is common -- sometimes its hard to understand the correlation between white blood cell count and chemotherapy, especially if you don't have a medical background. A white blood cell count is critical for treatment. When it falls too low, treatment may need to be temporarily halted. During periods of nadir (when it falls after being administered chemotherapy), you may experience side effects and become at high risk of developing infections. Special precautions may need to be taken to prevent this, from avoiding areas where you may be exposed to germs to taking special medication to boost white cell count. Learn more about low white cell counts during chemotherapy.