my husband is on chemotherapy (FEC) for breast cancer 1st stage. He developed moderate neutropenia ...?

12 days after the 1st cycle of chemo.he is only 48 and quite healthy so it surprised his doctor. Is this common? His modified radical mastectomy took a long time to heal-quite a few nodes were removed but were all negative.He is now taking Filgrastim after the 2nd cycle as a precaution

. Can this early neutropenia be an indication that his dose is too heavy and would he be a candidate for leukemia with this continuous onslaught on his immune system over the next 5 cycles? he is losing weight - he started at 69 kgs in April and is now 64.5 kgs(mid-July). Would the quantity of his dose change if he kept dropping weight? What percentage of benefits would we get from a 6 cycle regimen as compared to a 4 cycle one. He was much weaker and took more time to recover after the 2nd chemo as comapred to the first cycle.Would prefer oncologists to answer

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    Neutropenia (low white blood cell count) on the 12th-14th day after FEC chemotherapy is not uncommon. The Filgrastim should help shorten the length of time that his white count is so low. If he tolerates this dose of chemotherapy; if he does not become infected or ill during the period of time that his white count is low, then they may not change the dose of the chemotherapy drugs. However, if the low white count does result in a fever or infection that requires antibiotics and hospitalization, they may very well decide to decrease the dose of the drugs.

    Dosing of chemotherapy drugs is based on body surface area - not just weight. If his weight loss is severe enough by the time the next treatment is due, they may decide to lower the dosage to accomodate the change in body size.

    The goal of cancer therapy is to try to kill as many cancer cells as quickly as possible. Certain treatment protocols allow some flexibility in number of and timing of treatments, but the overall goal is to get as effective an amount of treatment in as possible. In certain protocols, and I don't know for sure which one your husband is on, the number of treatments and amount of drug depend partly on the maximum allowable dosage of the anthracycline (epirubicin) that is safe for the heart.

    You really need to discuss these questions with your oncologist and oncology nurse. Without knowing your husband's case better, and not being able to see him in the flesh, it is difficult to answer whether or not his overall well-being or lack of well-being is of a severity to require a decrease in his doses or dosage of medication. Oncology nurses are a treasure trove of information and advice, my patients often tell the oncology nurses things that they would not mention to me, yet they are still important.

    I wish you and your husband well. Too often, men are overlooked by the support groups for breast cancer, and they can feel sort of "un-attended" by the larger family of breast cancer survivors. Perhaps you could see if your local cancer society or Komen Foundation could put you in touch with other men who have gone through what your husband is going through now.

    Source(s): Thirty years of practicing medical oncology
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  • 1 decade ago

    Go to and listen to the audio links on cancer by Dr. John Edwards. He uses mangosteen to help his patients rebuild their immune systems whilst going through chemo and radiation treatments.

    you can obtain and try this great tasting mangosteen juice by going to It's fully patented and tastes great. My brother uses it to help counteract the effects of his chemo and radiation for sarcoma. Rebuilds the immune system on a cellular and molecular level. It has helped keep his energy levels up and it does NOT interefere with any medications. Try it and see if it helps.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Get him on Ambrotose.

    Info on my page.

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  • 1 decade ago

    your husband has breast cancer? Is this is first surgery?

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