CLL Support Association
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WBC going way down/platelets/lymphocytes way up!

I know many people say you shouldn't watch your #'s too frequently but I had to get blood work done in Feb. then again in April and I found it REALLY odd---my WBC went from 30.6 (slowly going up over the years, but hanging out around 28-30 the last 15+ years) to 20.4 (!) in 2 months. My Oncologist has NOT seen it yet (Long story short, I get the blood work done where I live then fax it to him) but my primary said that it was fine!

Then my Lymphocytes % shot up about 20% and my platelets about 150 more!

Anyone have any experience with any of these drastically changing in such a short amount of time? Since being diagnosed about 16 months ago, none of these have changed that much even in 3-6 months!

I won't here from the Oncologist until at least Mon., then I am back at work so it'll be phone tag...So I am kind of curious.


7 Replies

Missing a lot of information from your post. Percents don't matter. If your total WBC drops, then your percent of lymphs will usually rise. Means nothing unless you are neutropenic. Only pay attention to your ALC which looks like it might have actually dropped. High platelets have many causes including cancer, infection and trauma, but changes that are still in the normal range are still in the normal range and of no concern. Don't worry about following ALC too closely until it's over 50,000 and even then, it rarely means much.


I was diagnosed July, 2009 and my WBC and ALC gradually trended up until March 2012, when my WCB dropped from 50.9 to 19.2 ; ALC from 45.5 to 15.6; Hgb from 125 to 119 and Platelets from 148 to 134. My doctor at the time had no explanation other than it could possibly have been due to a virus. Two months later, my WBC was back to 56.5 and ALC to 49.72 and they continued trending up until I required treatment during September 2013. I finished FCR last December and I'm in remission with an ALC of 0.25! All is well.


Missing information is because for some reason the lab doesn't give a lot of results. Not sure why. That's why I get annoyed/worried. Anyway, I will trust people who have been there. By my calculation by ALC would be 16. I"m not sure what "normal" is. I just still find it really odd that the WBC dropped that much in 2 months, I forgot to mention I haven't had a Spleen since 2001.

Thank you!


Track your absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) not the percentages. Under 30K counts can bounce around, track the absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) overtime like a year to see CLL progression if any...

a passing bug or infection can raise WBC counts 10 K to 15 K...

Ultimately, it is how you feel, counts are important but fluctuations test to test are fairly meaningless in most cases... platelet drops below 100 is a cause for concern however...

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Hi rlyndecker,

Your WBC includes all "species" of white cells. Anything below somewhere around 40k is not meaningful in the absence of B symptoms i.e. fatigue, sweats etc. FORGET judging your lymphocyte count by the percentage. Watch only your ALC (Absolute Lymphocyte Count) and again pay attention to trends of doubling times and not get too alarmed by any one blood test report. A doubling of ALC in 6 months or under could be a warning of aggressive progression but patients do see fluctuations where ALC can actually go down after climbing to over 100k. Platelets are notoriously prone to jumping up and down so look for trends over several tests of any downward movement below 100 before getting too alarmed.



It hasn't quite doubled in the 6 months (it came close). I posted before about my extreme fatigue & have taken many suggestions that people said. I don't get the sweats all the time, only about 3-4 times a week so I'm not sure what that means, I just go to bed with the blanket on then wake up in the middle of the night and am sweating and super hot. Anyway, I appreciate the reassurance. Now I can focus on teaching tomorrow not wanting to check my email every 5 minutes to see if the oncologist emailed me back :) Thank you again to everyone, it really does make a difference!


absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) doubling doesn't really come into play until it doubles over 30K... so a count of 38K that went to 79K in 6 months, combined with fatigue and night sweats, might trigger the beginning of a treatment discussion, and closer monitoring, perhaps a CTscan...



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