Aplastic Anemia

Aplastic anemia is a condition that can be inherited or caused by some toxic chemicals or cancer treatments.

Aplastic anemia causes your bone marrow to stop making either one, two or all three types of new blood cells: red cells, white cells and platelets.

Aplastic anemia is not cancer. But it can be caused by common cancer treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy. We treat it with an integrated team of hematologists (specialists who focus on disorders that affect the blood and related structures) and oncologists, who treat cancer.

This condition can put you at higher risk of infection, uncontrolled bleeding and cardiac problems such as arrhythmias, heart failure and an enlarged heart.

After our team has diagnosed your specific type of aplastic anemia, they will walk you through your personalized treatment options. This includes extensive support and education resources from diagnosis through survivorship.

Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167 or request an appointment online.

Types of aplastic anemia

There are two main types:

  • Acquired aplastic anemia: This type can be triggered by a virus, medication, toxic chemicals or cancer treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
  • Inherited aplastic anemia: This is caused by a genetic defect, and it can increase a person’s risk of developing leukemia and other cancers.

Aplastic anemia symptoms

Symptoms depend on which type of blood cells you are low on. Common ones include:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained bruising

Aplastic anemia risk factors

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Cancer treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Pregnancy, although this is rare
  • Use of some prescription drugs for conditions such as bacterial infections and rheumatoid arthritis

Aplastic anemia treatment

Treatment depends on the severity. Mild cases may not require treatment, only close observation to ensure it doesn’t progress. If you’re diagnosed with aplastic anemia during cancer treatment, the condition may go away after treatment ends. For more serious cases, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following:


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