Anemia (Low Red Blood Cell Count)

Cancer and related treatments can cause a decrease in the amount of red blood cells made by your bone marrow. The hemoglobin in red blood cells transports oxygen through the body. When the red blood cell count is low, tissues don’t receive enough oxygen, making the body feel weak and tired. This condition is called anemia.

 If your red blood cell count falls too low:

  • Ask family and friends for help with chores and activities.
  • Eat foods high in iron, including green, leafy vegetables and cooked red meats.
  • Get plenty of rest, and nap as needed.
  • Get up slowly after sitting or lying down to keep from getting dizzy.
  • Plan periods of activity and rest each day to preserve energy.

 Your doctor may recommend a blood transfusion, if necessary.

When to Call the Doctor

  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Increased weakness or fatigue
  • Shortness of breath