Night Sweating: The Lesser-Known Warning Sign of Cancer You Shouldn’t Ignore

With a myriad of cancer types, recognizing the symptoms to watch out for can be quite daunting. While weight loss, fatigue, lumps, unexplained bleeding, and persistent bloating are commonly known signs, one symptom that often flies under the radar is excessive sweating, particularly night sweats.



The Science of Sweating

Sweating is a natural bodily process that aids in regulating our internal temperature. Sweat glands, located in the dermis layer of our skin, are controlled by nerve cells. The amount of sweat produced varies based on activities, emotions, and surrounding temperature. Whether it’s the heat, exercise, stress, illness, or certain medications, our body reacts with sweat to adapt to the situation.

Sweating and Cancer

In the context of cancer, excessive sweating can occur as a symptom of the disease itself or as a side effect of treatments. Infections, which are common in cancer patients, can elevate body temperature, leading to increased sweating as the body attempts to cool down.

Specific types of cancer are more prone to cause excessive sweating. These include non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, carcinoid tumors, leukemia, mesothelioma, bone cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, germ cell tumors, and advanced medullary thyroid cancer. Additionally, people with advanced cancer of any type may also experience increased sweating.

Hormonal changes induced by cancer or its treatment can also result in hot flashes and sweats. Treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and hormone therapy may lead to these symptoms. For instance, breast cancer treatment can trigger early menopause in women, causing hot flashes and sweats. Men receiving hormone treatment for prostate or breast cancer may also experience these effects.

Night Sweats as a Warning Sign

Night sweats, and excessive sweating during sleep, can serve as a warning sign of cancer, but it is frequently overlooked. Paying attention to your bedding in the morning may reveal signs of excessive sweating. If you find your sheets and pillows notably saturated, it could be indicative of night sweats.

While sweating alone doesn’t necessarily indicate cancer, it’s crucial to be aware of what is normal for your body and consult your doctor if you notice any changes. Early detection of cancer can save lives, making it essential to be vigilant about all potential symptoms, including less obvious ones like sweating.

Remember, your health is your wealth. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and prioritize your well-being.


Cancer Research UK. (2023, May 16). Causes of sweating. Retrieved July 30, 2023, from



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