Raised temperature

A raised temperature, or feeling feverish, can be an indication of infection. This is a particular concern when being treated for cancer, since treatments can lower the number of white blood cells, reducing the ability of the body’s immune system to fight infection. This means that even minor infections can become very serious in a matter of hours if left untreated.

Normal body temperature very much varies depending on the individual, the weather and even the time of day. For most people, however, a temperature of between 36 and 37.5 degrees is normal. When body temperature rises to 38 degrees or more, this usually indicates that there is an infection which the body is trying to fight off.

Potential warning signs of infection include;

  • Feeling feverish
  • Temperature of 37.5 degrees or higher
  • Feeling shivery/shaky
  • Sweats
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhoea
  • Pain or discomfort when passing urine/passing urine frequently  
  • Cough, sore throat or shortness of breath

If you experience any of the above symptoms or are feel generally unwell (even without a temperature), please contact your hospital and speak to a doctor/nurse. It is best not to take anything (such as paracetamol) to bring your temperature down until you have sought advice from your medical team, as this could hide any symptoms of infection and make it more difficult to work out what is wrong.

You may need to go into hospital for further assessment and to be treated with antibiotics via a drip into your vein. After a few days of treatment, you can usually go home and have the antibiotics as a tablet.

Please follow the guidance you have been given by your hospital for monitoring your temperature and reporting a raised temperature using the 24 hour contact number provided.

Disclaimer: on this website you will find self-management advice to help you to manage a range of mild symptoms and side effects of secondary breast cancer and its treatment. Please ONLY use this advice if you are currently participating in the LIBERATE study. Otherwise, please follow the advice of your own healthcare team.

Page last updated: April 2020