how can you tell if you need a blood transfusion?

good afternoon everyone

i’m a newbie to the boards and really finding my second EC hard today (which reminds me, is FEC the same thing as EC?) because i have been unable to get out of bed and i don’t know whether to ring the hospital or not. I seem to be really tired and weak and am worried i may be becoming anaemic but i have no temperature or any other symptoms of infection so i don’t know really if this is just normal. I don’t remember being this wiped out after my first chemo, i also feel weird in my body, kind of slightly tender and breathless and pins and needles in soles of feet. i am sure it is all just normal but you know when you’re not sure… yet don’t want to waste hospital’s time either. After firs EC i had severe diarrhoea and sore throat and left it all too late so that i came down with neutropenia and had to be in hospital for 6 days. desperately don’t want same thing to happen and be back in for christms so if anyone can relate at all to these symptoms i’d be so grateful for any advice.

many many thanks and wishing you all good health today. carrie

Hi Carrie

It sounds like you are just tired from your chemo. I think the EC is the same as FEC but without the “F”. I got really tired after a couple of them but didn’t have any infections.

But I really think you should call your nurse or the hospital just so they can check you out as you have suffered with neutropenia before.

Hope you perk up soon.

Cecelia. x

Hi Bellatrix,

Our Clinical Nurse Specialist, Tara posted earlier on another thread explaining the difference between EC and FEC, this is what she said:

“…the difference between the EC, and FEC chemotherapy regimens. EC stands for Epirubicin, and Cyclophosphamide, FEC stands for the same as with EC, but with the additional drug 5FU, also called 5-fluorouacil”

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Emma, Moderator

Hi Carrie

I agree with Cecilia. You should contact your oncology department asap. I was neutropenic throughout chemo, and was hospitalised twice. I was given GCSF injections to boost white cell production.

They will normally only suggest a blood transfusion if your hb levels are very low.

If you are neutropenic you are at a greater risk of infection, and it is imperative that you get medical advice. Don’t worry about wasting anyones time!!

Best wishes


Please do phone whoever your contact is in hospital about your chemo. You’ve already been in hospital once with neutropaenia and as you said you don’t want to be ill this side of christmas. In my long experience of chemos - the hospital prefer you to phone early rather than leave it too late if you feel ill. Many women need to have their white blood cell (wbc) boosting injections (neulasta, GCSF) between chemos - some hospitals like mine just prefer to delay chemo by a week but that makes it drag on forever.
When your white blood count is low it makes you often feel exhausted, occasionally short of breath and generally feel ill. Chemos can make you anaemic but usually it is the low wbc that makes you feel ill.
it shouldn’t matter what time of day or night it is, you should have access to someone at the hospital to phone and discuss how you feel. Ok - so you may need to go in for few hours to be assessed but that is better than leaving it too late and being hospitalised for ages.
I hope it improves for you