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Hot Flashes and Night Sweats (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI] - Causes of Hot Flashes and Night Sweats in Patients with Cancer

In patients with cancer, hot flashes and night sweats 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.

Hot flashes and night sweats are common in patients with cancer and in cancer survivors. They are more common in women but can also occur in men.

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 drugs can cause night sweats.

Drugs that may cause night sweats include the following:

  • Tamoxifen.
  • Aromatase inhibitors.
  • Opioids.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants.
  • Steroids.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: 8/, 015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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