Q. I have high lymphocyte count and low neutrophil count. Is this due to cancer?

Answered by
Dr. Goswami Parth Rajendragiri
and medically reviewed by Dr. Preetha J
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 18, 2020

Hi doctor,

I am a 32-year-old female who weighs about 128 lbs. I had blood work done suggested by a weight loss doctor. The doctor requires routine blood work once a year. I noticed that five of my results came back out of range. My cholesterol has been high for years now. I think it is genetic. My main worry is regarding my results in dealing with my white blood cell levels. Three are out of range - neutrophils (low), lymphocytes (high), and absolute monocytes (low). I bruise easily, but iron levels have never been low. And I also have heart disease, and type I diabetes runs in my immediate family. I do not have infections that I know of and was not feeling sick when blood was taken. What could be the cause of this? Should I worry that it could be cancer? If so, what kind? I do not have any known pre-existing conditions or diseases, and I am currently taking Phentermine. I had C-section surgery two years back.



Welcome to

Sorry for the late reply. Following is my opinion on your asked question. In the attached reports (attachment removed to protect patient identity), lymphocyte count is high, and neutrophils are relatively low due to high lymphocytes. Total cholesterol and LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) levels are high. Lymphocytes are our immune cells, which increase in response to any chronic infection or inflammation. Usually, the common cause of elevated lymphocytes are viral infections. But you do not have any respiratory infection or cold according to history. So further work-up should be done. If your lymphocytosis persists in repeated CBC (complete blood count) after few days (or if it is persistently elevated already), then investigate further with ANA (antinuclear antibody) estimation, flow cytometry, and peripheral smear examination report.

  • ANA will help rule out any autoimmune disease is present, which can sometimes cause lymphocyte elevation.
  • Flow cytometry and PS (Phosphatidylserine) report will help in exclude any abnormal cancerous lymphoproliferative disease if present.

Do not worry. Although chances of any lymphoid cancer are very low in your case, investigate as above to be sure that nothing is abnormal.

I hope I have answered your question. Let me know if I can assist you further.


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