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Does a low platelet count lead to cancer?

Q: One of my cousin sister in Delhi has a platelet count around 1000. How serious is the probem. Can we call it as cancer? She is 52 years old.

A:Low platelet count is called thrombocytopenia (Normal: 150,000-400,000/ul). There are many causes for it including: a) Pseudothrombocytopenia factitiously low platelets due to clumping b) Decreased production of platelets due to 1. Problems in the bone marrow like Aplastic/hypoplastic anemia; Infiltration of the bone marrow by haematologic malignancies (leukemias & lymphomas, metastasis; Myelodysplastic syndrome etc. 2. Infections 7 fever caused by some Viral or bacterial illnesses 3. Drug induced (there are a large number of drugs which may cause isolated thrombocytopenia) c)Increased destruction of platelets 1. Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP, collagen vascular diseases etc) 2. Abnormal platelet activation/consumption (DIC, TTP, HUS) d)Hypersplenism Your sister needs to be examined by a haematologist and appropriate investigations done (which may include a marrow examination) before any comment can be made.

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