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Can diet help to increase the leukocyte count?

Q: My 67 years old mother weighing 60 kg is suffering from non-Hodgkins lymphoma diffuse B- cell type (high grade). She is going through chemotherapy, and her leukocyte count (TLC) is not stable. She underwent her test after every three days and her TLC has been varying - 1100, 800, 500, 900. What diet should she take to increase her leukocyte count?

A:It's important for your mother to take care of herself by eating well and staying as active as she can. She needs the right amount of calories to maintain a good weight. Her current weight is appropriate (although a little under the ideal range) and she must maintain this range. She needs a good control over her diet due to the fact that she has diabetes. She also needs enough protein to keep up her strength. Eating well may help her feel better and have more energy.

Sometimes, especially during or soon after treatment, she may not feel like eating. She may be uncomfortable or tired. She may find that foods do not taste as good as they used to. In addition, the side effects of treatment (such as poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, or mouth sores) can make it hard to eat well. Her doctor and a dietitian can suggest ways to deal with these problems.

There is no specific way nutritionally to control the fluctuations in TLC. However it is important that your mother is kept away from any infection and any infection already in her system is dealt with immediately and appropriately.

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