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Low WBC, leukemia - high or low wbc?
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Low WBC, leukemia - high or low wbc?

I have had a low WBC for several months ranging from 2.3 to 5.6, now back down to 3.3.  The breakdown of my WBCs is perfect...all percentages are fine.  I feel fine, have had no symptoms, no pain, no fatigue.  My doctor wants to do a bone marrow biopsy just to rule out anything bad.  He can't do it until the end of October.  He doesn't seem concerned, he even said I could wait until after the first of the year if I wanted to.  I don't want to wait, I'd do it tomorrow if I could b/c I think I'm going to have an ulcer from worrying until then.  I had a dear friend die of leukemia at my age.  Everything I've read about leukemia suggest that it causes a HIGH wbc, not a LOW wbc...but when I type in causes of leukopenia (low wbc), leukemia always comes up.  But, usually when I go to that link it again talks about a high wbc.

In a nutshell, I'm wondering when you have a cbc, is the wbc only the healthy wbc's or is it all wbc's?  Also, any other comments specifically on leukemia and how it may affect wbc.  Drs. out there, do you think I should be concerned and press for an earlier biopsy?  Thanks for your comments.
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4 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi.

In a CBC, all white blood counts are counted whether normal or abnormal.  Abnormal WBC's associated with leukemia can be described as "BLASTS" on the peripheral blood smear.  Leukemias indeed present with elevated rather than low white blood counts (with exception of some chronic leukemias which can present with normal to low white counts).

Causes of low WBC would include chronic viral and bacterial infections (such as CMV, EBV, tuberculosis, etc), and primary bone marrow disorders such as myelodysplastic syndromes or aplastic anemia.

I agree with the plan of doing a bone marrow examination to settle things and I hope this can be done soon.

Regards and God bless.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thaanks!! This answers my question too!
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Avatar_m_tn
Got the results of my bone marrow biopsy...everything is fine.  I don't even have to follow-up w/ the hematologist.  He said that slightly below the "normal" range is just "normal" for me.  Thanks for your input!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, i just wanted to clarify smth about wbc that i found on leukemia-lymphoma society web site: "Patients with chronic leukemia always have
an increase in white blood cells."
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