Fever and Night Sweats in Mesothelioma Patients

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Mesothelioma usually does not cause fever or night sweats until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. Fever may indicate a viral or bacterial infection, which is dangerous for mesothelioma patients. Night sweats may be caused by fever or another condition such as anxiety.

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Fever and night sweats are uncommon mesothelioma symptoms in the early stages of the cancer. Less than 10 percent of mesothelioma patients experience fever or night sweats when they are diagnosed.

These symptoms are more common in the final stage of mesothelioma, when the cancer begins to spread throughout the body.

Fever can be a sign the body is fighting cancer cells, and it is also a common side effect of cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Fever can also be a sign of infection. Chemotherapy often weakens a patient’s immune system, leaving the patient vulnerable to viruses, bacteria and other types of germs.

What Causes Fever and Night Sweats?

Normal body temperatures range from 97 F to 99 F. A fever is when the temperature goes above 100.4 F, which is a common sign your immune system is fighting an illness.

Night sweats may result from your body temperature rising and falling significantly when you are sleeping.

The human body has ways of automatically regulating its temperature, like a thermostat. When your body needs to raise its temperature, you begin to shiver, and the feeling may make you want to go to bed with an extra blanket.

If your body sets its natural thermostat back to normal while you are sleeping, your body will then sweat to try to cool off. This can result in night sweats.

Many other conditions can cause night sweats, including anxiety and depression.

Fever and Night Sweats During Mesothelioma Treatment

Night sweats are usually nothing to worry about on their own, as long a patient drinks plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. On the other hand, a fever may be a symptom of infection. Infections are very dangerous for mesothelioma patients, especially during chemotherapy.

Mesothelioma patients should have their temperature checked whenever they feel flushed or chilled, or if they experience cold or flu symptoms. If a cancer patient runs a temperature over 100.4 F for more than an hour, it is a medical emergency.

Mesothelioma patients and caregivers must take special precautions to prevent infection. To control night sweats, doctors may be able to prescribe medication.

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Registered Nurse and Patient Advocate

Karen Selby joined Asbestos.com in 2009. She is a registered nurse with a background in oncology and thoracic surgery and was the regional director of a tissue bank before becoming a Patient Advocate at The Mesothelioma Center. Karen has assisted surgeons with thoracic surgeries such as lung resections, lung transplants, pneumonectomies, pleurectomies and wedge resections. She is also a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators.

Walter Pacheco, Managing Editor at Asbestos.com
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4 Cited Article Sources

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2018, April). Body temperature norms.
    Retrieved from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001982.htm
  2. American Cancer Society. (2014, August 11). Signs and Symptoms of Cancer.
    Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-basics/signs-and-symptoms-of-cancer.html
  3. Mold, J., Holtzclaw, B. & McCarthy, L. (2012, December). Night Sweats: A Systematic Review of the Literature.
    Retrieved from: http://www.jabfm.org/content/25/6/878.full
  4. Hermann, J. et al. (2012). Fever of unknown origin: A clinical mask of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3687464/
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Last Modified September 10, 2019

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