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What is the Connection Between Night Sweats and Lymphoma?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2016
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The primary connection between night sweats and lymphoma is that nighttime sweating is one of the common symptoms of this disease. Among cancers, night sweats are more heavily linked with lymphoma than with other varieties. It is not determined what causes this, although two possibilities include an immune response issued by the body to fight the cancer, or a high grade fever.

Although night sweats and lymphoma are linked, nighttime sweating is not an indicator of cancer if no other symptoms are present. Sometimes other medical conditions can result in night sweats, as well as menopause, pregnancy, and other hormonal changes. Other symptoms which are associated with lymphoma are one or more swollen lymph nodes which grow larger over time, fever, weight loss, fatigue, and malaise. Not all patients will experience all of these symptoms.

Night sweats seems to occur with both Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and don't seem to happen more during any particular time of night. Patients may experience them throughout the night or at set intervals, and some nights may be worse than others. Many people will notice a reduction in symptoms once treatment begins, but this is not always the case. There are various treatments used to alleviate symptoms associated with night sweats and lymphoma.

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If sweating becomes profuse or disturbs sleep profoundly, medications may be used to help prevent excessive sweating. Patients are also often encouraged to wear loose fitting clothes that keep moisture away from the body rather than clinging to it. Keeping the room cool and using lighter blankets during sleep may also make patients more comfortable.

Sometimes night sweats and lymphoma progression may continue despite treatment. While both forms of lymphoma are treatable when detected early, more advanced cancers may be harder to cure. This can lead to prolonged treatments and more severe symptoms. In some patients, nighttime sweating is a later symptom of the disease rather than an initial one. This will vary based on the individual.

The most common treatments for lymphoma are radiation, chemotherapy, lymph node removal, immunotherapy, and bone marrow transplant. Since lymphoma is a cancer which can affect the entire lymphatic system, primary tumors or growths which occur in an internal organ, such as the spleen, are often caught later than those which begin in a lymph node. Patients should report any unusual symptoms to their doctor or another health care professional.

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