Is a Fever a Cancer Symptom?A fever is an extremely common symptom related to many conditions, most of which are benign. An increase in body temperature is most often a biological response to a viral or bacterial infection. The body simply raises its temperature to help destroy the invading bacteria or virus. In some cases, however, a persistent fever can be related to cancer. Leukemia and lymphoma are two types of cancer that are commonly known to cause fevers.
Fevers related to cancer are persistent, meaning they last longer than three days and can be low- or high-grade. They can be accompanied by other symptoms or occur without other symptoms. How high a fever is does not indicate the severity of a condition, either. Don't brush off a persistent low-grade fever just because it is not high.
What to Expect at the DoctorIf your fever is very persistent, it is important to see your doctor to determine the cause of the fever. Even if over-the-counter fever reducers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen relieve your fever, it is still important to see your doctor.
Unexplained fevers can be caused by a myriad of conditions, and your doctor will likely ask a lot of questions to help make an accurate diagnosis, such as:
- How long have you had the fever?
Do you have any other symptoms?
What medications are you taking?
Do you suffer from any diseases or conditions?
How often do you have a fever? Do you notice it more at night?
Do you have a dental abscess or other dental problems that may have an infection?
- Have you traveled to any other countries within the last few months?
Your doctor may decide to do a few routine tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC) or chem 7 panel to see what they reveal. He or she may also want to do a urinalysis to rule out a urinary tract infection as the cause.