How long are you considered immunocompromised after chemo?


Just that really! I’m sure people’s immune system recovers at different rates but is there a general rule? 

I ask because I currently have a nasty, chesty cough developing and I’m wondering if I should push for antibiotics when I normally wouldn’t.

My last chemo was at the beginning of April, surgery in May, I’m due to start 3 weeks of Radiotherapy in 10 days (with breath holds), then Kadcyla/Enhertu for 14 cycles the week after that.

I’m not sure whether I should just let it run it’s course or fight it head on.


Doris x

Hi @Doris74 

Maybe I’m wrong or has nobody replied to you as yet ? How are you doing today ?

I have no personal experience of chemo but I am a Health Care Professional and I know that you would still be considered immuno - compromised even if you were feeling ok prior to developing your cough .

I would definitely suggest contacting both your surgery and your treatment team for advice / help. If you haven’t already perhaps do a Covid test as well - if you are unfortunate enough to be Covid + I’m pretty sure that you would be entitled to free anti- viral treatment that quite a few of us including myself were given ( it helped) .

 This is assuming that you are still feeling poorly - and I really hope that’s not the case but if you are and you haven’t taken action already then I really think you should. Letting it run its course or deciding to wait and see might be ok under normal circumstances but not right now when you have other treatments coming up as well .

Hope you feel better soon

Joanne x

Hi Doris

Thank you for posting and asking how long you can be immunocompromised for after chemotherapy. 

Chemotherapy can reduce the number of white blood cells in your blood, and a low number of white blood cells can mean you are more likely to become neutropenic and be more susceptible to infection. 

As you say, side effects differ for each person, but you are more likely to be at risk of being immunocompromised 7-14 days after chemotherapy. Your blood counts usually return to normal levels in time for your next cycle of chemotherapy. 

As you finished chemotherapy in April, your blood counts should no longer be affected by your treatment. However, as you have recently developed a nasty cough, we would always suggest that you contact your GP for assessment as @JoanneN suggests so that they can advise if antibiotics are required.    

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