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Bleeding during cancer treatment

Cancer treatment - bleeding; Chemotherapy - bleeding; Radiation - bleeding; Bone marrow transplant - bleeding; Thrombocytopenia - cancer treatment

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Description

Your bone marrow makes cells called platelets. These cells keep you from bleeding too much by helping your blood clot. Chemotherapy, radiation, and bone marrow transplants can destroy some of your platelets. This can lead to bleeding during cancer treatment.

What to Expect

If you do not have enough platelets, you may bleed too much. Everyday activities can cause this bleeding. You need to know how to prevent bleeding and what to do if you are bleeding.

Self-care

Talk with your doctor before you take any medicines, herbs, or other supplements. DO NOT take aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), or other medicines unless your doctor tells you it is OK.

Be careful not to cut yourself.

Take care of your teeth.

Try to avoid constipation.

To further prevent bleeding:

Women should not use tampons. Call your doctor if your periods are heavier than normal.

If you cut yourself:

If you have a nosebleed:

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

Related Information

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Chemotherapy - what to ask your doctor
Radiation therapy - questions to ask your doctor

References

Doroshow JH. Approach to the patient with cancer. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 179.

National Cancer Institute website. Chemotherapy and you: support for people with cancer. www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/chemotherapy-and-you.pdf. Updated May 2007. Accessed February 16, 2018.

National Cancer Institute website. Radiation therapy and you: support for people with cancer. www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/radiationttherapy.pdf. Updated October 2016. Accessed February 16, 2018.

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Review Date: 1/31/2018  

Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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