Staying Cool Despite Hot Flashes

By Emily Mackler, Pharm.D., U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center
Symptom Management and Supportive Care Program

Emily Mackler, Pharm.D.
Emily Mackler, Pharm.D.

Both men and women may experience hot flashes and sweating from their cancer or cancer treatment. In people with cancer, hot flashes are most commonly associated with lower hormone levels from breast cancer or prostate cancer treatment. Other types of cancer that might also lead to hot flashes include carcinoid tumors, medullary thyroid cancer, pancreatic cancer and renal cell cancer.

Some medications may be useful in controlling hot flashes. These include certain antidepressants, anticonvulsants, clonidine and a progesterone- like drug. But beware that some of these drugs might not be appropriate for your circumstances.

Speak with your cancer provider before starting any medications for hot flashes, including herbal and dietary supplements. Estrogen replacement therapy for hot flash treatment should not be used if you have or had breast cancer. Certain supplements should be avoided in breast cancer and prostate cancer patients due to their hormone-like characteristics.

Tips that may relieve sweats related to cancer or cancer treatment:

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing made of cotton
  • Use fans and open windows to keep air moving
  • Practice relaxation and slow, deep breathing

 

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Email us at ThriveMagazine@med.umich.edu

 

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Thrive Issue: 
Spring, 2013