Published on August 28, 2019
How can myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) patients deal with night sweats? During this Partners program highlight, Andi Malitz, who is living with essentialthrombocythemia (ET), describes her battle with relentless, excessive sweating. MPN expert Dr. Robyn Scherber, from the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson,also discusses potential causes, recommended tests and some symptom management strategies. Watch now to learn more about this aspect of myeloproliferative disorder symptoms.
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Transcript | Managing MPN Symptoms: What Can Be Done About Night Sweats?
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Well, let’s talk about what to do about it. So, Andi, you mentioned sweating. That’s been bugging you, right?
Bugging me, it’s taken over my life. And we have not been able to do anything about it. I don’t wanna say it was a constant battle, but it’s gotten worse over the years. And it’s very much different than, again, being—you know, women deal a lot differently with different things than men do at a certain age. We exhausted the menopausal situation. We did all those tests. I also had thyroid issues where four years ago, I had the left thyroid removed, and I’m on medication. There have been so many variables in my life.
And knock on wood too, like you said, I have been extremely fortunate. I am an incredibly healthy version of an ET patient. I’m JAK2-negative. I’ve been under the care of one of the leading clinicians in the country, Dr. Brady Stein at Northwestern. And we have gone through so many discussions such as sweating. The night sweats I can deal with. It’s the day sweats, as I call them, that interrupt probably more than any other symptom that I’ve had. Because my hair—you know, you’re at a social gathering. Everybody’s great. And all of a sudden, I’m having to excuse myself. So, still trying to figure out what to do about it, and not just the cancer.
Dr. Scherber, I’m sure you don’t have answers for everything, and everybody’s different. But sweating, whether it is night sweats or during the day, are there any other solutions you think of?
Yeah, that’s one of the harder symptoms. So, there are some symptoms that are a little bit easier to deal with, especially if we find a good, easy-to-treat cause. I mean, in this setting, I certainly would recommend checking—and it sounds like you already had this checked—but hormones levels. I’d check for thyroid function. If you’re on levothyroxine (Synthroid), it could be too high of a dose that can do that.
Sometimes, I know this is probably not a great scenario for you, but there’s some people that actually can even get rarely—I haven’t actually sent any MPN patients off for this, but sometimes, they can do injections, even Botox injections, to try help with sweating. It’s probably inflammatory mediated. But it doesn’t happen all the time. So, it might be worthwhile trying to be on a treatment that helps with inflammation. Not everyone has the ability to have that symptom go away with that, though. I’ve certainly heard of unremitting sweats, even just by the best anti-inflammatory treatments we have.