MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Is there a risk of bleeding after breaking a bone during chemotherapy ?

Date: Tue Sep 16 13:38:57 2003
Posted By: Paul Odgren, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Cell Biology
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 1063383556.Me

Dear Jane,

Yes. I sincerely hope this isn't a question from personal experience. If 
it is, a conversation with your physician would definitely be in order. 
But you have hit all the nails on the head. Chemotherapy is aimed to kill 
cancer cells, which divide actively. As a consequence, it also kills 
normal cells that divide rapidly, including those of the bone marrow that 
give rise to the blood cells and platelets. The low platelet counts that 
result definitely increase the risk of bleeding, whether from a fracture 
or from any other injury or trauma. Also, the anemia that accompanies bone 
marrow depletion does indeed prolong the healing process. Infections are 
much more likely in chemotherapy patients during the times their white 
blood cell counts are low. Patients often must be in isolation ("reverse 
precautions") to reduce infection risks. As to age, it also is a factor. 
Basically, the older you are, the further out of warranty you are. All 
systems gradually lose efficiency with age, but the variation from one 
person to the next is huge. 

Hope this answers your question.

Paul Odgren, Ph.D.
Dept. of Cell Biology
Univ. of Massachusetts Medical School

Current Queue | Current Queue for Medicine | Medicine archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Medicine.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2003. All rights reserved.