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Mesothelioma night sweats and fever can occur with any form of this cancer. These are more common symptoms in the late stages when cancer has spread. Treatment of the underlying cancer and palliative care measures can relieve night sweats and fever to improve quality of life.
About Fever and Night Sweats in Mesothelioma
A fever is a high body temperature, usually caused by an illness. Normal body temperature is around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, although it can vary by one or two degrees and not be of concern. A fever is generally considered to be 100.4 degrees and higher.
Night sweats is a term that refers to excessive sweating during sleep. It goes beyond simply getting too warm. The amount of sweat produced can be enough to soak clothing and bedding and cause an individual to wake up in discomfort.
What Do Fever and Night Sweats Feel Like?
Having a fever is an unpleasant sensation that most people are familiar with, but in addition to raised body temperature, it can cause several symptoms:
- Appetite loss
- Muscle aches
A fever can also cause sweating, which occurring at night, is referred to as night sweats. Night sweats are more than simply feeling too warm at night. It causes excessive sweating that can soak the bedding.
How Does Cancer Cause Fever or Night Sweats?
Fever is not common in the early stages of mesothelioma, but most types of cancer in late stages can cause this symptom.
A fever is especially likely if the cancer has impacted the immune system because it is a common sign of an infection. Studies show that fever is a less common but possible symptom for peritoneal mesothelioma patients.
For some patients, the treatment for mesothelioma causes these symptoms. For instance, immunotherapy drugs, which are used more frequently for mesothelioma patients, can cause flu-like symptoms as side effects. These include a fever.
Are Fever and Night Sweats Late-Stage Mesothelioma Symptoms?
Yes, sweating excessively at night and a fever are both common symptoms as mesothelioma spreads. Many patients in stage 4 experience these uncomfortable symptoms and require palliative care to manage them.
Does Asbestosis Also Cause Night Sweats?
Asbestosis, a more common illness associated with asbestos exposure, doesn’t typically cause these symptoms. If you have an unexplained fever and night sweats and know you were exposed to asbestos, talk to your doctor right away.
How to Manage Night Sweats and Fever
Because these are usually symptoms associated with late-stage, terminal cancer, treatment options for the underlying cause are limited. Initially, the focus is on treating the underlying cancer. If that is not possible or helping, then focusing on the palliation of this symptom can be helpful to feel better.
Typically, fever can be managed with antipyretics and over-the-counter drugs that reduce fever, including acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen.
If a patient cannot take medications, or if they don’t work, other management strategies may help:
- Keeping the temperature low in the house at night
- Sleeping with just a sheet
- Using a cold compress
- Using a fan or air conditioning
- Staying hydrated with cold drinks
- Using ice packs
- Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods
- Using relaxation strategies
Mesothelioma causes several uncomfortable symptoms, like fever and night sweats, but treatments help. Talk to your medical team if you have these symptoms and are struggling to manage them.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Anne Courtney, AOCNP, DNP
Anne Courtney has a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and is an Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner. She has years of oncology experience working with patients with malignant mesothelioma, as well as other types of cancer. Dr. Courtney currently works at University of Texas LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes.