Objective: An effective and safe alternative treatment to hormone replacement therapy for hot flashes is needed for cancer patients. Interventions targeting the triggering mechanisms of hot flashes hold promise. Increases in core body temperature are a precursor of most hot flashes in women, and similar findings in prostate cancer patients undergoing androgen deprivation therapy would support further research in this area. We present preliminary findings of physiological changes in a prostate cancer patient with frequent hot flashes.
Methods: Physiological changes in sternal skin conductance, heart rate, and core body temperature were continuously measured during two 3.5 h laboratory sessions. Perceived characteristics of hot flashes were recorded in a diary.
Results: Five hot flashes were reported during laboratory sessions. Severity and bother ratings were low. All hot flashes were accompanied by large increases in sternal skin conductance and moderate increases in heart rate. Core body temperature increased 0.11–0.32°C prior to and fell 0.23–0.44°C following the peak increase in skin conductance.
Conclusions: This case study suggests that hot flashes in men may be preceded by increases in core body temperature. Identification of behavioral factors that raise core body temperature may lead to specific treatment strategies to reduce the frequency of hot flashes. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.