Blood cells that control bleeding are called platelets. Chemotherapy may lower the platelet count, leaving you more susceptible to bleeding. This may happen after each treatment, but the platelet count usually returns to normal levels before the next treatment cycle.

Signs and Symptoms of Bleeding

  • Easy bruising
  • Nose bleed
  • A cut that bleeds longer than 5 minutes in spite of pressure
  • Blood on toilet tissue
  • A grouping of fine pinpoint red dots on the skin, especially the arms and legs
  • Bleeding from gums
  • If any of the signs of bleeding occur, call The Regional Cancer Center.

Preventing Bleeding

  • Practice sound oral hygiene and use a soft tooth brush.
  • Keep body clean, especially the perineal area — cleanse daily.
  • Shave with an electric razor.
  • Keep nails short and trimmed.
  • Avoid activities that could cause injury (i.e., climbing on a ladder).
  • Use caution when using sharp knives and tools.
  • Blow nose gently.
  • Keep bowel movements soft and regular.
  • Do not use suppositories, enemas or take rectal temperatures while on chemotherapy or when platelets are low.
  • Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen or products containing either of these while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.