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Anemia

As a cancer patient, you may find yourself with a low red blood cell count, known as anemia (a-nee-me-a). You may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Pale skin
  • Feeling of being cold

Anemia can be caused by the cancer itself, the cancer treatment, blood loss during surgery, or poor nutrition. If you are anemic because of nutritional deficits, such as low iron, your doctor may recommend dietary supplements. If your anemia is caused by your cancer treatment, you may receive a red blood cell transfusion or medication to stimulate red blood cell production.

You can do many things to help manage your symptoms of anemia.

  • Call a member of your care team if you experience any of the symptoms of anemia.
  • Schedule your activities so that you have time to rest.
  • Ask for help with daily activities.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet, drink lots of fluids, and take supplements if your doctor recommends them.
  • Do some type of moderate exercise on a regular basis as exercise may increase your energy level.
  • Try relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing.
  • Breathe with your lips pursed when you are short of breath.
  • Rise slowly after sitting or lying down to prevent dizziness.

Remember, when you experience side effects, it is important to contact Texas Oncology first before going to an emergency room or urgent care clinic.