In Cancer Treatment, What does Nadir Mean

Nadir means the lowest point of anything or an extreme state of adversity. When used in reference with cancer, it is a stage when the blood counts are at their lowest. It is also known as nadir period by the medical professionals. In order to understand nadir, it is important to know the blood count. The blood count can be known by taking blood sample and then finding out the levels of both the red and white blood cells. This stage is reached mostly after chemotherapy when blood count of the patients reaches its lowest level. It leaves the patient at the high risk of getting infected. At nadir point, patients should avoid the situations which increase the risk of getting infected.

Chemotherapy does not only affect the cancer cells but also the normal cells in the body. As cells mature, they become more sensitive to be affected by the chemotherapy. White blood cells are of more importance in chemotherapy because they prevent the patient from infections. When these cells live out their span of life, the blood count falls to the lowest point and that is the Nadir point. Red blood cells have a longer life span than white blood cells. When red blood cells count becomes low, that condition is anemia. With each chemotherapy session, patient reaches a nadir period but this nadir period can be managed.

The nadir period is usually after 10 days after chemotherapy treatment but it can vary according to the type of drugs given to the patient. Doctors make the patients aware of this before the treatment. The blood count returns back to normal in around 3-4 weeks after the treatment and if not then drugs can be given which help in boosting the production of blood count. The timing of chemotherapy is very important as it can be done only after the nadir period is over and the patient is in safe situation. If it would be given on a wrong time when the blood count is not back to normal then it can put the patient in a dangerous situation. Therefore, for cancer treatment, seek an experienced oncologist who has a good experience in his field otherwise instead of improving the situations; a wrong doctor can worsen the situation.