Lifespan Cancer Institute


Platelets are cells that help your blood clot when you bleed. Some types of chemotherapy make it harder for your body to make platelets. A low platelet count is called thrombocytopenia. Your doctor will check your platelet count throughout your chemotherapy treatment.

What to do:

  • Use a soft toothbrush.
  • Blow your nose gently.
  • Be careful when using scissors, knives or sharp objects.
  • Use an electric shaver.
  • Apply pressure to any cuts until bleeding stops.
  • Wear shoes all the time to protect your feet.
  • Avoid constipation.
  • Do not use dental floss or toothpicks.
  • Avoid contact sports or activities that could cause injury.
  • Do not use enemas, suppositories, tampons or rectal thermometers.
  • Do not wear tight clothes with tight collars, wrists or waistbands.

Check with your doctor or nurse before:

Taking vitamins, herbs, minerals, dietary supplements, aspirin or other over-the-counter medications. Some of these medications may increase your risk of bleeding.

When to call your doctor or nurse:

Please call if your urine is pink or red, if you have black or bloody stools, unexpected bruising or bleeding, bleeding from your nose or gums, or a rash of tiny red or purple dots.