My husband has been diagnosed as having stage A Leukemia (just over a year ago) he has regular blood checks and today the results have come back and his white blood cells are quite high, compared to last time.
Although I will ring the doctor on Monday, can anyone explain to me anything about the white and red blood cells?
We live in France and so probably the system here is different to that in the UK.
many thanks for any information.
I am so sorry to read about your husband's Leukemia. Yes, it does sound like the system used to stage a cancer is different in France than it is in the UK or USA. We usually use Roman Numerals to describe a stage (I to IV in most cancers). Therefore, I am not exactly sure what a stage A is.
I can give you a basic introduction to blood cell types but you can find more complete information on the Internet. Red blood cells and the cells that care oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body. White blood cells are part of the immune system and help fight infections. Leukemia is when white blood cells start to be too many (without the presence of an infection) or start to change shapes to the point that they do not work anymore.
Do you know what your husband's white blood cell count was?
Hello Dusty Dog--I was diagnosed on 12/17/1991 with AML Leukemia. I fought for 8 months at Duke University Medical Center with the help of what in my personal opinion I consider some of Americas finest Leukemia researchers and Doctors lead by Dr Joseph O Moore, of the Hematology & Oncology Dept. I am not sure what Stage A means in your country. Do you know if it is Acute Leukemia or Chronic Leukemia? I know I was an M4 when I was admitted. I am not a medical professional or a nurse or any associated with any hospital or treatment facility--I am only a survivor who has been in that abscribed role of patient and watched as my family members agonized to understand the new medical terminology that was being thrust their way. I will try to help as best as I can even if I just listen. Please know that that you are not alone -- there are so many of us out here regardless of nationality or occupation --that care deeply and want to help if we can. I know from experience that cancer can never change that part of me that is me. Let me know if I can help. I will keep looking for your answer if you want further assistance. God Bless and you are both in my prayers. He is still in the healing business!!
I celebrate Life-Bad Hair Days for there were days I had no Hair !!!. I am 16 ys and almost 1 mo cancer free. I get checked 1 time a yr. I had AML Luekemia but Leukemia didn't have me. Praise God--I remain free.
many thanks for your reply. We were told by the specialist that Stage A is leaukemia that can stay that way for many years, with no treatment necessary, unless the blood tests (which he has every 3 months) changes significantly.
Of course, because the results are in French - and here then send a copy to us as well as the doctor -
the heading is Numeration Globulaire and then underneath
Leucocytes (white blood cells) 16 200 /mm3(2 years ago it was 8 000) and then went up to 15 820)
Hematies (red) 4 540 000
my husband will be 70 this November which I believe makes a difference to how quickly Leukemia progresses. he is also diabetic and has walking difficulties due to about 5 mini strokes.
We are lucky that the French Health system is very good and there is no waiting lists to see specialists unlike the UK from where we moved 6 years ago.
many thanks for your quick replies and help.
My father had ALL Leukemia until he died in Sept 2006 due to an infection. That is the usual cause of death for people with Leukemia. 16 thousand is high, but not too high. My father's medical team was happy when they could keep it below 30 thousand. Usually, it was 40-60 thousand and at least one time it was 160 thousand. He died when he was 83 years young.
Many thanks for that reply Jim H. I'm quite new to using a Forum so forgive any mistakes I might make!
That has relieved my worries about the levels but I know the doctor said we would be back to the specialist if any changes.
What is the weather like in Tennessee at the moment?
We have it hot and sunny, about 30degC at the moment which makes up for our very unsettled summer.
Regards, Dusty dog
Sorry to hear about your husband. There are a few things you should know about leukemia. If he has been told that stage A can mean wait and watch for some time them he no doubt has a chronic version. In this case I would say CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia).
A doctor should never be overly concerned with the numbers, even though the numbers are what may initially indicate a problem exists. The old adage is this: "Treat the symptoms, not the numbers." One of the symptoms that indicates if treatment is iminent is lymphocyte doubling time less than 6 months. Also if platelets drop under 100 and RBC numbers begin to drop significantly. Does he have night sweats, swollen nodes, perhaps a swollen and painful spleen. If the answer to these questions is no then simply seeing a chang in his WBC is not significant at least not for one test. If there was a big change the doctor should repeat the test in a couple weeks I would think to verify the numbers. Again it still may not be anything to get overly concerned about yet.
I am also a CLLer. I have already been treated and have been in remission for over 4 years. I had every symptom when I treated. Painful swollen spleen, horrific night sweats, platelets < 100, RBC was <4 and my WBC was > 250,000. I know people that have WBC of 30,000 and require treatmentand still others that have > 350,000 and do not require treatment, at least not yet.
How is your husband doing now?
God Bless you both,
Question: Have you lived here all your life?
Answer: No, not yet!!!
Just to update you. We went to the specialist on 17th December and he is quite happy with my husbands health and everything at the moment remains stable, so we dont see him again until next December. In the meantime he has to have blood tests about every 4 months.
My best regards to all of you for a Happy Christmas and a Happy and much healthier New Year.
Dusty Dog, France
WOW Dusty Dog, that is fantastic news . It is great to hear that your husband does not need to go back to the doctor until December of 2008. Currently, I am going back every nine months or so. Next to, in February. Maybe this time he will change it to once a year for me too .