What is a blood count?

A blood count is a measurement of the amounts and types of blood cells in your body.

How many types of blood cells do I have?

  • Red blood cells help carry oxygen and food to the other cells in your body.
  • Platelets help clot blood in cases of a cut or bruise.
  • White blood cells help prevent and fight infection.

How does my illness affect my blood cells?

Some types of cancer cause changes in blood-cell production. Often, white cells are produced ineffectively and are immature (leukemia). Overproduction of ineffective white blood cells may suppress red blood cell and platelet production.

What happens if my blood cells are low or immature?

You may feel sick because:

  • An inadequate supply of red blood cells can cause anemia, which leaves you pale, weak and tired
  • Inadequate platelets can cause easy bruising, poor healing and sometimes bleeding
  • Without enough mature white blood cells you are more susceptible to infection, resulting in colds, cough, sore throat and fever.

Blood test results

Patients with blood conditions often have numerous blood tests. In general, it is our policy to call you only when the results are abnormal, and a change in therapy is instituted. Therefore, if you do not hear from us you can assume your test results were stable.