Anemia is a condition that is indicated by a low red blood cell count. Red blood cells grow at a fast rate, which means they are often affected by cancer treatments that target rapidly dividing cells. Hemoglobin, an important element of red blood cells, carries oxygen throughout the body, and limited oxygenation can cause fatigue and a number of other uncomfortable symptoms. Managing anemia is important, so call the care team immediately if experiencing excessive weakness, difficulty breathing, or chest pain.
There is no specific way to prevent anemia. Blood transfusions can help increase red blood cell counts, and growth factor medications can encourage the production of red blood cells.