Steroids and Cancer
Steroids may be used as a part of a cancer treatment or to alleviate the treatment’s side effects. There are times that steroids are called corticosteroids, which are the substances that are naturally made in the body. They also control various functions in one’s body like the way the body uses foods or the immune system. These also help in reducing inflammation. Steroids may be taken as liquids or tablets by injection or by mouth. It depends on the kind of steroids that your doctor prescribed.
What Are the Steroids Used for Cancer Therapy?
Most of you might think that taking steroids will make your muscles big and only suited for weightlifters or athletes. The recreational steroids are known as anabolic steroids and aren’t used in cancer care. More often than not, the steroids used for those who have cancer are referred to as corticosteroids, which are the chemicals produced by adrenal glands naturally. Some of these steroids are medrol, decadron, prelone, deltasone, and cortef. Once used for cancer, such medications are typically given injected or orally.
Why Steroids Are Used for Treating Cancer?
Steroids or corticosteroids might be used for different reasons in treating cancer. This might be confusing and it’s essential to ask your oncologist regarding the particular purpose of medication you’re prescribed. Some of the possible uses of the corticosteroids for cancer treatment are:
- Boost Appetite – In the world where most people are weight conscious, everybody look at losing weight as a plus. But, cancer cachexia, which is a constellation of the symptoms including unintentional muscle wasting and weight loss, this is responsible for twenty percent of the cancer deaths. This makes it crucial to address concerns like appetite loss in cancer patients.
- Help Prevent Allergic Reaction to Blood Product Transfusion or Medications – Commonly, the steroids are used for preventing allergic reactions. Several chemotherapy drugs like Taxol can cause allergic reactions.
Possible Side Effects of Steroids
The side effects of steroids may vary from one person to another and it depends on the dosage given. The most typical side effects are changes in mood, increased appetite, fluid buildup, improved blood sugar levels, indigestion and stomach ache.
It is essential to take the steroids as exactly as prescribed. You’ll have regular appointments in monitoring the effects of the steroids. If you’re taking steroids for a long period of time, you GP or cancer specialist will provide you a card to carry, which explains what you’re taking.
The Bottom Line
Steroids may not be popular as a hero for cancer care. While radiation therapy, chemotherapy, newer therapies like immunotherapy were praised for killing cancer, the steroids work silently behind the scenes, minimizing and preventing complications and making some therapies work better. That is the reason why they play a huge role in treating blood-related cancers as well as solid tumors. With that said, such drugs have a particular number of long and short-term side effects. Some of these can be serious. See to it that you ask questions and talk about the symptoms you’re experiencing even if it’s only fatigue.