Q. My WBC count is slightly low. Should I be worried about cancer?

Answered by
Dr. Goswami Parth Rajendragiri
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 03, 2018

Hello doctor,

I am a 41-year-old, healthy female, average height and weight. I recently had a CBC which was concerning to me. The WBC count was slightly low at 3.78 (reference range starts at 4.16) and the ANC was 1.08 x 103/uL. All the rest of the CBC was entirely normal. No immature granulocytes, etc., and lymphocyte count normal (although obviously percentage was higher at 55 %). I recently completed a short course of Ciprofloxacin for a tooth issue (about 3 to 4 days prior to blood draw). Also had a mild stomach flu about two weeks ago. Only other medication is Wellbutrin. Should I be very concerned about cancer, etc? I have been feeling hotter at night recently, but I have also been under a tremendous amount of stress. I recently was laid off and I am having trouble finding a job.



Welcome to the

I have seen your attached report here (attachment removed to protect patient identity). It is not suggestive of any cancer. Your Hb (hemoglobin), HCT (hematocrit), RBC (red blood cells) and platelet count all within range. You had mentioned the history of flu which can lead a temporary decrease in WBC count may be by bone marrow suppression or relative decrease because of increased lymphocytes. Immature cells are not present so I do not think you have to worry about that. Repeat CBC (complete blood count) after few days. It will be normal if not then will investigate further. Take care.

For more information consult a hematologist online -->

Thank you doctor,

Is the extent of the neutropenia concerning, that is would it be normal for a simple stomach bug two weeks ago to decrease the neutrophils by this much? Do I need to worry about HIV? Do I need to take any special precautions right now so as not to become infected?



Welcome back to the

The decrease of total count and neutrophils is mild and not too much severe degree. In HIV infection usually, platelet count and hemoglobin both decreased. So HIV affection seems less likely. If you have a history of unprotected intercourse with a suspected person then you can rule out HIV by fourth generation ELISA testing. If you have investigated for HIV then let me know. For few days try to avoid taking outside food to prevent repeat stomach infection. And additionally, I do not think it is cancer. Repeat CBC after few days and at that time if report abnormal then will think further.

For more information consult a hematologist online -->

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