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Fever, Sweats, and Hot Flashes

Causes of Sweats and Hot Flashes in Patients with Cancer

In patients with cancer, sweats and hot flashes may be caused by the tumor, its treatment, or other conditions.

Sweating happens with disease conditions such as fever and may occur without disease in warm climates, during exercise, and during hot flashes in menopause. Sweating helps balance body temperature by allowing heat to evaporate through the skin.

Sweats and hot flashes are common in patients with cancer and in cancer survivors. Sweating is more common in certain types of cancer, such as Hodgkin lymphoma, pheochromocytoma, and some neuroendocrine tumors.

Many patients treated for breast cancer and prostate cancer have hot flashes.

Menopause in women can have natural, surgical, or chemical causes. Chemical menopause in women with cancer is caused by certain types of chemotherapy, radiation, or hormone therapy with androgen (a male hormone).

"Male menopause" in men with cancer can be caused by orchiectomy (surgery to remove one or both testicles) or hormone therapy with gonadotropin-releasing hormone or estrogen.

Treatment for breast cancer and prostate cancer can cause menopause or menopause-like effects, including severe hot flashes.

Certain types of drug therapy can cause sweats.

Drugs that may cause sweats include the following: