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Home > Resources > Disease Specific Info > Chemo-Related Anemia Guide > More Information

Overcoming Anemia
Are you on chemotherapy and think you may be anemic? Find out, and then take the steps you need to get treatment.
  1. Take the Could You Be Anemic? quiz to find out if anemia and fatigue are affecting your life.
  2. Discuss the results of your quiz with your doctor.
  3. Talk to your doctor about the treatment options that may help you feel better.
A complete blood count (CBC) test will determine for you and your doctor whether you are anemic. (See the Helpful Tools page for more information.)

The Role of the CBC Test
The hemoglobin in red blood cells is necessary to circulate oxygen throughout your body to all of the necessary organs. Chemotherapy can inhibit the body's ability to produce red blood cells. When oxygen is unable to reach your organs as a result of chemotherapy-related anemia, you are likely to feel excessively tired and fatigued.

Normal hemoglobin ranges are as follows:

- Men: 14 to 18 grams per deciliter
- Women: 12 to 16 grams per deciliter

The average hemoglobin value for men is 16 g/dL and for women is 14 g/dL. However, the definition of "normal" varies from person to person. If your hemoglobin is outside the normal range, contact your doctor.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)
Anemia is one of the leading side effects of chemotherapy. You and your doctor can determine whether you are anemic by taking a CBC test at your doctor's office. A CBC test measures the levels, or counts, of the different types of cells in the blood. This test will tell you and your doctor whether your red blood cell level is normal. Because cancer and chemotherapy can cause blood counts to drop, a CBC is one of the most important tests that people with cancer routinely take. (See the Helpful Tools page for a sample test and a chart to help you keep track of your complete blood count results and hemoglobin levels.)


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