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Dr. Greg
Dr. Greg, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 1717
Experience:  Urgent Care Physcian at John Muir Medical Group
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Had chemo 12 years ago.. Since then my RBC and Hemoglobin

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Had chemo 12 years ago.. Since then my RBC and Hemoglobin have been low. In June 2017 my PC asked me to take these results to my Oncology/Hematology physician. She said these numbers are consequences of the chemo therapy, but to be certain she
added some other tests to be sure. All indicators in the CBC were normal except those two. A ferritin test was run, also...normal, but on the high side. She returned me to the care of my PC. Now, on my regular blood work one year later my RBC dropped from 3.33 to 3.22 and my hemoglobin dropped from 11.0 to 10.5. Apparently this doesn't concern my PC as I have not heard from her since the results were posted to my chart. I am wondering if it would be appropriate for me to try oral iron supplements or does the damage done by the chemo negate their effectiveness?

Hello, My name is***** am a board certified physician, and would be happy to help you with your health concern. Please give me a few minutes to read, and respond to your question​.

I'm sorry to hear that your blood counts have dropped slightly. I agree with your primary doctor that the amount of the decline that has occurred during the past year is not alarming. To answer your question, taking iron tablets is certainly not harmful, and can be helpful. Given that your iron tests previously were normal, it's not completely clear that the iron supplements will fix this problem. Chemotherapy often does irreparable damage to the bone marrow, which is responsible for making adequate amounts of blood cells. When the bone marrow is damaged, a person will have chronic anemia, which is what you suffer from. This is very difficult to fix, but supplements such as iron, folate, etc. can be helpful. Therefore, it is okay for you to start the iron.
Please let me know if you have any additional thoughts, or questions.

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Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you for both your confirmation that this drop is not significant and for your prompt response. Because I do not suffer from any symptoms associated with the anemia, I may or may not try the supplements, but you have reassured me that nothing has been overlooked.

You're welcome. I'm glad I could be of assistance. Take care.
Dr. Greg