Radiation Oncologist Questions Leukemia

Can radiation cause leukopenia?

My son has leukemia and is on radiation therapy to treat it. But his white blood cell count keeps going down. Is it possible for radiation therapy to cause leukopenia?

3 Answers

Yes,especially in the pelvic area.
Many factors can affect patients during radiation therapy. White blood cells are very sensitive to radiation therapy so can decease during treatment. It also depends on what area is being treated, especially the amount of bone marrow being treated. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also decrease blood counts. However, a decrease in white counts alone does not need to be concerning. Your doctor will monitor the counts and act appropriately.

Shankar Giri, MD
Radiation can contribute to leukopenia, especially when bone marrow or abdominal organs are in the treatment field. The primary cause is from chemo-therapy.