The cancer itself
This page tells you about how cancer may cause a fever. We don't really understand why certain tumours cause fevers and others don't. Some tumours may produce toxins that cause fever. Fever caused by your cancer may come on in cycles, meaning that your temperature rises at the same time each day. You may have days or weeks when you don't have a temperature and then the fever starts again.
This type of fever can be very frustrating and uncomfortable. The cancers most likely to cause fevers are
- Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL)
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Acute leukaemia
- Kidney cancer (renal cell cancer)
- Liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma)
- Bone cancer
- Adrenal gland tumours such as phaeochromocytomas
- Tumours in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus
Your doctors may not be able to find any reason for your fever. Some types of non Hodgkin’s lymphoma cause night sweats and high temperatures that come and go with no obvious cause. This symptom often plays a part in helping doctors decide which type of non Hodgkin’s lymphoma you have.
The most common types of cancer, such as breast cancer, lung cancer and bowel cancer, do not generally cause fever. But they may do if the cancer has spread to the liver, or if the tumour is causing an obstruction or blockage somewhere in your body. There is information about treating this type of fever in the section on treating fever.
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