Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) calculates the number of neutrophils present in a human being’s blood, which are the most common type of white-blood cells found in all mammals. It determines the amount of white-blood cells (neutrophils) that are an important component of our immune system, and are found in our bodies to fight-off infections and fever.
Knowing your Absolute Neutrophil Count is helpful in gauging the risk of infection that you might be vulnerable to, and also to determine whether you are fit to undergo specific treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplant etc. An ANC Count above 1500 cells per µL is considered normal, while anything below that increases the risk depending on the range.
If your ANC Count falls below 500 cells/µL, you are significantly exposed to risk of infection as well as Neutropenia, which is a condition characterized by unusually low numbers of neutrophils or white-blood cells in your system, and might even prove to be life-threatening in some cases often due to Febrile Neutropenia or neutropenic fever. The severity of Neutropenia in such a case again depends on the range of your Absolute Neutrophil Count, i.e. an ANC of 1000-1500 cells/µL results in mild neutropenia, while a range of 500-1000 and below 500 cells/µL denotes mid and severe neutropenia, respectively.
Depending on the severity of neutropenia based on your ANC, your doctor might advise certain precautions such as avoiding crowded places, excessive travel, or even complete isolation in case of severe neutropenia.
Measurement of ANC
An ANC calculator reading is measured in microliters (µL= 1 mm3) by simply multiplying your total white blood count by the total number of neutrophils (%segmented neutrophils + %bands) x 10. In this formula, the segmented neutrophils are the ones that are fully mature, while the bands are those that are almost mature. Slightly different variations of this formula are also used, depending on the units of measurement (µL or 103/µL) or scales of percentages etc.; however the underlying principle is the same across all of them. An ANC calculator can also be used to determine the figure based on similar equations to measure Absolute Neutrophil Count.
Certain differences might arise among the results of different lab reports; in fact, each lab might have its own techniques which might show completely different results from a report obtained from another lab depending upon specific variables used to make up formula for anc calculations as . There are several factors that account for such differences, for example different units used to report WBC count including microliters, milliliters or cubic milliliters; variations in the names used for the counts, e.g. neutrophils is sometimes used for the total number of neutrophils, while at other times it might refer to segmented ones only. Therefore, it is always advisable to ask the doctor/lab assistant about the reporting conventions of your Absolute Neutrophil Count report and make conversions or different anc calculator if necessary.