Sweating and Cancer

Sweating and Cancer – Introduction

I’m going to discuss sweating and cancer here and try to look at the causes of sweating, the treatments and the things you can try to do or change in order to reduce your sweating.

Cancer or the treatment of cancer can cause excessive sweating. It can an added worry at a time that you could really do without it. It can be embarrassing too but there are many things you can do to reduce the symptoms. As with any medical issue you should speak with your medical professional and seek advice from them.

General Causes of Sweating


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Many factors in your life can contribute to sweating

Sweating keeps you cool and you will always be sweating, even when you don’t really notice it. It’s one way to keep your body temperature regulated. The amount of sweat can depend on a variety of internal and external variables such as:

  • The activity you are undertaking – physical exercise will increase sweating to cool us down.
  • The external temperature – if you’re in a hot and sunny country you’re more likely to sweat
  • The moisture content in the air – the more moisture the harder it is for sweat to evaporate from your skin.
  • Your emotional state – if you’re nervous or angry, you’re likely to sweat more
  • Your wellbeing – if you are ill then you’re more likely to have a hot body temperature and therefore need to sweat more in order to reduce it.
  • Taking medicines – some medicines and treatment can cause sweating, generally as a result of increasing the core temperature of your body.

Sweating and Cancer – The Link

Sweating and cancer are certainly intrinsically linked for many and the things that may cause sweating include:

  • Infection – if you have an infection your core temperature increases as your body fights the infection. This in turn triggers your sweat glands to produce the required cooling.
  • Cancer – many types of cancer can cause sweating. The reason behind this as far as the professionals understand, is for similar reasons as with infection.
  • Hormones – as your hormone levels change you can find yourself with symptoms such as hot flushes and sweating. Cancer patients may find that their hormone levels change from the cancer itself or with treatment.
  • Cancer treatment
    • Men – Hormone treatment in men suffering with prostate or breast cancer  is likely to cause flushing and sweating.
    • Women – Women can be put into an early menopause as a treatment for breast cancer, and this can certainly cause the same flushing and sweating that you would associate with that.
  • Cancer drugs and medicines – Many drug treatments and medicines have side effects that include excessive sweating.

Treatments for Sweating

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Speak with your medical professional about treatments

There are numerous treatments for excessive sweating – many of which are posted across this site and dealt with in detail. To run through the most common in the case of sweating and cancer:

  • Cancer – If cancer is the reason you are experiencing the excessive sweating, then treating the cancer should get rid of the sweating.
  • Infection – If you are suffering from an infection, antibiotics should clear up the infection and stop the sweating.
  • Hormone Levels – When hormone levels are changing because of treatment, you may find that this settles down after some weeks when you body gets used to the treatment and the changes.

There are drugs that can be prescribed to reduce the sweating during cancer treatment or thereafter, and this should be discussed with your medical professional. We won’t go into the details of these drugs but suffice to say that your physician will know that some anti-depressants, epilepsy drugs and hormones can help you with the sweating.

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Cut down or eliminate these from your diet to reduce sweating

Additional Actions to Take

There are also actions you can take that apply to anyone with excessive sweating, such as:

  • Reduce or remove alcohol and caffeine from your diet as these make you sweat more.
  • Avoid eating late in the evening to reduce night sweats – your body can’t do everything at once so let it digest, then sleep.
  • Don’t eat large meals as this raises your temperature and causes sweating.
  • Avoid spicy food, which as many know is a sweat inducer.
  • Keep cool whenever possible – don’t use a thick duvet in bed, wear loose and natural fibre clothing and keep the room temperature cool.

If you have been affected by sweating during cancer treatment, or if you have something to share about your cancer experiences, please add a comment to this page or you can always email me directly if you would like anything added here – lee@sweatsolutions.com


September 7th, 2015 by