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Feeling Cold

pk's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: Aug 2009

Those of you who have been through treatment: What's with this feeling cold all the time. Bob(my husband) is 5 months out - all is well, but he is always complaining about being cold. Anyone else out there feeling "chilly" when no one else is????? Just wondering?

Posts: 51
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi pk,
I am 10 months out of treatment. I am sitting inmy den in Southern California with blanket on me. Iwas carrying a glass to the sink the other night and started shivering so bad I spilt the water. Living in L.A. now as a former NYer I was never cold-never wore a jacket in "winter".Now I always wear something or at least keep one in my car.I attribute the problem to loss of fat. I lost 60 lbs which arent coming back.Its still a small price to pay.Good luck and stay warm.Its our new normal.

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

i am down almost 40 lbs, and just a tiny little thing. skin and bones now. i am always freezing too, until i break out in these crazy sweating frenzies. so mine is the opposite. i never ever sweated like this before treatment. hot flashes, yes. sorry, guys. been there done that, but this is awful. the night sweats are even worse. i wake up wringing wet. i live on top of a hill in rural pa. i have snow, my window is open, and i am in a cami, and my cancer sucks shorts. holding naked dog in left arm, and if i get any hotter, he is going to have put some jammies on for his warmth or get under his blanket. i am getting too sweaty to hold him.

cwcad's picture
Posts: 117
Joined: Nov 2009

Being cold started as soon as the treatments began. I thought, at the time, that the treatments were the cause hence when treatments ended I would not be cold any longer. Wrong...almost three years out of treatments and I still am walking around the house with sweaters and sweatshirts on each day.

At nite the sweats hit often and hard. It has slowed some but never the less it still happens. I am at a loss as to why but am glad that it is not as often as it once was.

I often think I am cold because of the large weight loss I had. Having spent most of my adult life above the arctic circle, heat had never been a problem for me. Now I freeze in my new Texas home every day. I am at 195 pounds and I am not gaining weight any longer. Hands and feet are always cool and sweating.

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1576
Joined: May 2009

I've never been sure whether my weight loss or the loss of muscle was the reason I am alway cold. I wear layers of clothing all day when I'm inside but it never seems to be enough, my hands and feet never seem to warm up. The strangest part is that everynight at about the same time I have about an hour that I am so hot that I have to take the extra sweater off as I feel like I am burning up.

The weather has finally warmed up enough (the temperature is finally up in the 30's) that I try to go for a walk everyday to try to regain some of my muscles to see if this helps me stay warmer.

If this is my "new normal" then I guess I will just have to accept it and stock up on sweaters - LOL It sure beats the alternative ;-)

Take care and stay warm,

Posts: 170
Joined: Dec 2009

I feel like I moved to the North Pole and nobody told me.

friend of Bill
Posts: 87
Joined: Mar 2010

Out 17 months and down 40+ pounds, still feel very cold in hands and feet but it varies. Forgot to bring my gloves to Music City Bowl on New Years Eve and did ok but some nights in a warm house or bed are horrible. Microwave products and heating pads didn't work for me but good ole thick white athletic socks to the knee and sometimes gloves help along with a rapper stocking hat. Won't win any fashion gold medal but generally provides relief.

Posts: 29
Joined: Oct 2009

I'm almost 5 months out and have been freezing since early in treatment. Before getting sick, people used to wonder at me because I was still using the AC in the car in Nov(I live in Iowa). I can't get warm enough now. I lost 75lbs going through treatment - pounds I needed to lose - I now weigh exactly what I did as a 3 sport athelete in high school. Always a silver lining. Also eliminated hypertension and related drugs.

delnative's picture
Posts: 450
Joined: Aug 2009

I'm 17 months out of treatment and I still get cold, though nowhere near as bad as I did in the first few months.
What makes it more difficult is having a menopausal wife who's always hot. But, bless her heart, she hasn't made me turn the thermostat down. She just wears lighter clothing.

--Jim in Delaware

pk's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: Aug 2009

So now we know that the "chills" seem to be NORMAL!!!!
Jim- your posts always make me laugh!!
Your wife is nicer than I am, as I turn the thermostat down.

Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

Had the same, not so bad now 7 months out. I found using a skiing type 'Neck Warmer' to really help as it's easy to carry, take off, etc and would give me that extra bit of warmth to put in the comfort zone. You lose a lot of body heat around your neck as the main artery is close to the surface.

You're definitely no alone.

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

those things really work, just pop them in the microwave for a bit. i used to take three to bed with me every night. one around my shoulders/back, one i would tuck up under my shirt on my belly and chest, and i have slippers that you heat up. lol i like the room cold to sleep because i cannot breathe in a hot room. they kept me warm for hours, and the neck one and the feet ones had soothing lavender and flax in it, smelled nice. the one i tuckd under my shirt was just a home made one out of rice. my chinese hairless crested would be beside himself with glee when he saw me getting them out of the microwave.

awesome for cold people, because they can be comfy without turning up the heat. good call scambuster, i forgot about them.

pk's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: Aug 2009

we have some of those tucked away in the linen closet - will tell Bob to give em a try.
Sweet - love the comments you include about your dog - our springer sleeps with us too - some people just don't get that but ohhhhh they are so warm a cuddly!!

MaryRC's picture
Posts: 114
Joined: Feb 2010

I was wondering about the cold feeling people get, do you think
the radiation does something to your thyroid? I have read that it could make you feel cold. I am taking all this in since I havent even had my surgery yet.
I use the neck warmer on my neck all the time since I get alot of tension headaches. I also sleep with my 2 little dogs( Penny and Daisy) I get their backs to me, my husbnd says he gets their claws on his back!

micktissue's picture
Posts: 430
Joined: Dec 2009

I get shivering chills once a day and then I get very hot (but don't sweat). I wear a knitted hat when the chills come on and that seems to help. These are rad symptoms and I've been told they go away. We'll see.



GRAVEY's picture
Posts: 83
Joined: Jan 2010

I had a big issue right after my last treatments with getting hot in the bed. I wouldnt sweat, but I could be fully clothed or completely naked and burn up in the bed. It slowly went away, but it kept me from getting good sleep for almost a month after my last treatment.


Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi pk; Part of the new normal Bob, my wife sleeps with only a sheet and I sleep with three blankets. In my office and next to my bed is a little space heater that I don’t think I could live with out, I actually need 80 to 85 degrees just to feel normal. I believe it is almost time for me to move back to Honduras

pk's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: Aug 2009

Yup, I think it's Honduras for you!!! No lack of heat the there!!! P

Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

Can relate to this cold thing. Some think it has to do with the thyroid being impacted by treatment. If you research the functions of the thyroid- could be what's going on. Told my Rad Dr. about it, and she ordered blood tests, which came back okay. She said the chills were likely caused by thyroid abnormalities going-on.



stevenl's picture
Posts: 587
Joined: Jan 2010

Hey everybody,

Just the opposite around here now. I'm cold and she's hot!


Posts: 97
Joined: Feb 2010

You probably have a "fried" thyroid gland. Another thing they failed to tell me that would happen because of radiation. Have your blood test and and see if it is the thyroid. I am now three years out of treatment (35 Radiation treatments) and get cold easily both winter and summer. My hands and feet are the main areas of the body that stay cold. I take Synthroid for my deficient thyroid. Your doctor can regulate the dosage on this medication after completing your blood work. Again I am now three years out of treatment and find something out new almost every day. As many of the survivors state on this site; "You must get use to the new normal". Its not fun but we are still above the ground.

Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

Well put, Sportsman. 3 years- excellent (I'm 16-months).

Of note: this past summer was just about the most tolerant I've ever had, due to the chills in the summer heat. I have not experienced the chills I had back then, and it seems the chills became less noteworthy when I started gaining my weight back. Again- for all of head and neck, a Wikepedia reading of the Thyroid can be helpful.


ratface's picture
Posts: 1319
Joined: Aug 2009

I get the chills really bad also. Common consensus is that it's the thyroid. I'm nine months out. I don't think the thyroid works one day and then it dosen't. Mine checked out OK. I will have it checked again perhaps in six months if the chills do not diminish. Those of you with cold hands and feet are almost certainly suffering from neuropathy caused by the chemo whereas the thyroid is related to the radiation.

Use blankets, snuggies, large dogs, spouses, or significant others to minimize the effect.

thegirlfriend's picture
Posts: 147
Joined: Sep 2009

my boyfriend always feels cold and has a space heater or two in the house almost always on.
he lost 60 pounds though so Im thinking it may be not enough natural insulation.
I know when i have lost weight, i tended to get colder easier.


Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2011

I am on day 6 of radiation and I am freezing! I have been through chemo, 2 surgeries and now radiation for breast cancer, cancer in my axilla nodes and internal mammary nodes. The radiation is extensive they say and they have not done such complicated radiation before -so I am told. Now I have these long cold spells where nothing I do, even draping myself round a radiator wrapped in blankets, then followed very suddenly by a burst of heat and sweats. It seems like there is nothing in between. I had had hot flashes and sweats all through the chemo, but this seems to be a bit more extream. Can't imagine what it is going to be like by treatment number 33.

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

Sorry to hear you are having the cold feeling problem so soon but it is all part of the new normal after treatment. I sleep with two or three blankets at night and my wife only has a sheet. I love weather right at 85 degrees. It will get better so just hang in there and welcome to the family here at CSN.

All the best to you

HAWVET's picture
Posts: 318
Joined: Apr 2006

Good words Hondo. It has been years after my cancer. Before cancer, I usually slept without a blanket and my wife was always cold. Now, we are the complete opposite. I need pajamas and blankets to keep warm. During the day, the wife likes the ceiling fan on and it is too cold for me.

fisrpotpe's picture
Posts: 1349
Joined: Aug 2010

I am now 15 years post diagnosed and still cold much more than before treatments. The two summers after my treatments I wore sweatshirts unless it was above 85-90. It is no were near that now but winters are hard.
There is no doubt in my mind being cold is from all three, radiation, chemo and surgery.

It does get better slowly over the first couple years post treatment.


DrMary's picture
Posts: 522
Joined: Nov 2010

No suggestions about what causes the chills, but I do recommend a heated mattress pad; ours had dual controls so I can keep my side of the bed cooler and Doug can still be warm enough. Much more comfy than piling on blankets. I get "cold flashes" now and then (I'm at that age) and so I can always sneak over to his side and warm up.

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2012

Hi everyone,
I am a caregiver to my significant other of 10 yrs. She has gone through four years of chemo and radiation.This is because she has metastatic breast cancer.I hope I said that right..Now she is very cold and tired...can anyone relate or help me deal with this for her..thanks and I hope you all are doing well

longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

welcome to the forum. We try to wrestle with all kinds of situations here. The point of this thread is that lots of us are cold, and sometimes there's an obvious reason, but sometimes not. The causes are the same, whether our background is throat cancer, breast cancer, or just about anything in between.

In cases where us guys have had radiation to the neck, low thyroid problems are very common, up to 60% of us eventually have thyroid failure. I did, before my radiation was even finished. That's something to think about in anyone, and I wonder if her doctors have thought to do that kind of lab in awhile. She is at risk, you know, just because of the extended health problems she's had.

While I'm just free-wheeling with you, other metabolic problems would be pretty ordinary for her to sneak up with. Has she had a complete workup targeted to just the issues you mentioned, fatigue and feeling cold? If not, she really should. Are her blood sugars normal, is the rest of her lab ok, including blood counts especially?

Sometimes things just get by the system, when your focus has been on cancer, and its treatement for so long. Don't know if any of this helps.

Hope you have an easy solution.


Mikemetz's picture
Posts: 402
Joined: Nov 2011

I finished my rads treatments in late spring, so it was just starting to warm up in Atlanta--and I was freezing cold all the time. A test showed that my thyroid was severely damaged from the treatments and was permanently low-functioning. I tried some herbal supplements, but it took a few adjustments of synthroid dosages to get it back into the normal range. I still get cold sometimes when I think I shouldn't, but for the most part, the meds have worked to keep me comfortably warm.

IAmStrong's picture
Posts: 58
Joined: Feb 2012

I'm so glad to see this topic and know I am Not goofy! Everyone around me knows I have "issues" with being cold. Frankly I believe they view me as a psych case. I am in bed with my Cuddle Duds on. I wear Layers to work...my co-workers laugh at me. I wear three layers on my legs, 3 pairs of socks, 3 shirts:) I have fur lined ankle black slip on sport shoes, I wear those if I am particularly cold. Then I'll get quite warm. Mostly cold though. Today, I am wearing gloves, my full hooded wool coat, Cuddle Duds 3 shirts.....Pathetic ehh? Anemia? I don't know. I only know, I am COLD even when it is 50 like today~! A heat wave here. I even wear hoodies and gloves in the house at times.

That was an interesting remark re the carotid being close to the surface thus contributing to being cold.

I Especially like the remark of someone moving you to the North Pole and not telling you....THAT is what happened!!! Finally the truth!

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2012

Thanks for your posts. I'm glad to know that this is "normal."

It is seven months after surgery and I'm five months out of radiation treatment for breast cancer (no chemo). About halfway through radiation I started getting ridiculously cold; it felt as if ice were running through my veins and organs - especially my core. A few weeks post treatment the cold subsided, but it came back after I went on Tamoxifen. Now with the wether being in the 70s and 80s, I bring sweaters and warm socks everywhere. Sometimes my body temp drops to 97 - not that low, but it sure feels cold.

Is anyone else taking Tamoxifen and having cold flashes? If so, did you have radiation treatment, too?

How many people need to experience cold flashes before it is officially listed as a symptom of treatment?

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4672
Joined: Mar 2012

I'm cold ALL the time. Ok, so for a while it WAS cold here, it is Montana in the springtime, afterall...but I was wearing my deep winter clothes (down coat to my ankles, and snow boots) when it was rainy and 40........yesterday it was 76, no wind, and I had on two long sleeved shirts on, long pants and wool socks, while hubby paraded around in short sleeves and shorts....

I'm still turning on my mattress pad, too......

I figure it either chemo or rads....hard to tell....I've always been skinny, but never this cold...


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Not really normal, it's just not uncommon...usually related I believe to possible thyroid damage from the rads.

I'm sure others will chime in, if the posts above don't address your concerns.


BrianKrashpad's picture
Posts: 188
Joined: Jan 2011

to possible thyroid symptoms, in a lot of cases we're more than bit thinner than we used to be after treatment-- I've got about 50 pounds less insulation than I once did.

Although I'll take that trade-off.


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