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Anemia

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© American Cancer Society 2010

When you have too few red blood cells, your body tissues don't get enough oxygen to do their work. This condition is called anemia. You may have these symptoms:

  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Paleness
  • A tendency to feel cold
  • Shortness of breath
  • A racing heart rate

Your doctor will check your blood cell count (also called a complete blood count) often during your treatment. If your red blood cell count falls too low, you may need a blood transfusion or treatment with a growth factor to boost the number of red blood cells your bone marrow makes. 

Editor's notes: 

  • Less obvious symptoms include mental difficulties such as confusion and depression, unusual cravings such as the desire to chew ice, restless leg syndrome, sexual dysfunction or roaring in the ears.
  • If your anemia is causing fatigue:
    • Report your symptoms to your doctor or nurse.
    • See Survivorship A to Z's information for tips on coping with fatigue.

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