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Cancer treatment: dealing with hot flashes and night sweats

Certain types of cancer treatments can cause hot flashes and night sweats. Hot flashes are when your body suddenly feels hot. In some cases, hot flashes can make you sweat. Night sweats are hot flashes with sweating at night.

Hot flashes and night sweats are more common in women, but they can also occur in men. Some people continue to have these side effects after cancer treatment.

Hot flashes and night sweats can be unpleasant, but there are treatments that can help.

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Causes

People who are treated for breast cancer or prostate cancer are likely to have hot flashes and night sweats during or after treatment.

In women, some cancer treatments can cause them to go into early menopause. Hot flashes and night sweats are common symptoms of menopause. These treatments include some types of:

In men, surgery to remove one or both testicles or treatment with certain hormones can cause these symptoms.

Hot flashes and night sweats also may be caused by some medicines:

Medicines That Can Help

There are a few kinds of medicines that can help ease hot flashes and night sweats. But they also may cause side effects or have certain risks. Talk with your health care provider about your options. If one medicine does not work for you, your provider may try another.

Other Treatment Options

Some other types of treatments may help with hot flashes and night sweats.

Home Treatment for Night Sweats

You can also try some simple things at home to help relieve night sweats.

References

American Cancer Society website. Managing female sexual problems related to cancer. www.cancer.org/content/cancer/en/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/fertility-and-sexual-side-effects/sexuality-for-women-with-cancer/problems.html. Updated February 5, 2020. Accessed October 24, 2020.

National Cancer Institute website. Hot flashes and night sweats (PDQ) - health professional version. www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/hot-flashes-hp-pdq. Updated September 17, 2019. Accessed October 24, 2020.

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Review Date: 7/28/2020  

Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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