What are steroids?
The word ” steroid ” can make you think of “steroid anger or rage” (when an anabolic steroid user tends to act more aggressively) or the side effects these drugs have on athletes, bodybuilders, and athletes. weight lifters who use them. But, if your doctor has prescribed steroids for you as part of your cancer treatment, don’t worry. It’s not about “that” type of steroid. They are important medicines to treat cancer.
Steroids are chemicals that are normally made by the body. And there are also other steroids that are medicines made by humans. Both types of substances have many different functions and help the organs to function properly. The steroids that are used most often are:
How do steroids work?
These medicines can reduce inflammation (irritation and swelling) in the body. Sometimes they decrease the body’s ability to fight infection.
Steroids can help in cancer treatment in several different ways. They can:
- Kill cancer cells and shrink tumors as part of chemotherapy
- Reduce inflammation
- It reduces allergic reactions (for example, before transfusions)
- Reduce nausea associated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Relieve headaches and other symptoms caused by brain tumors
What are the side effects of steroids?
Steroids used as drugs in cancer treatment can have some side effects. If you are concerned, talk to your doctor and ask about it.
Maybe you don’t have any side effects. But if you do, they will only last as long as you are on steroid medication. When you finish treatment, things will return to normal pretty quickly.
The most common side effects of steroid treatment include the following:
- Increased appetite
- Weight gain, usually on unexpected body parts, such as the cheeks or the back of the neck
- Humour changes
- Sleep difficulties
- Upset stomach or ulcers
- Osteoporosis (weaker bones)
- Increased blood pressure
- Higher than normal blood sugar concentration. In some cases, people develop temporary diabetes. If you already have diabetes, you should check your blood sugar concentration more often.
- Girls may have delayed menstruation or missed periods.
- Bruising or stretch marks
Less common side effects include problems fighting infection, acne breakouts, and facial hair growth.
How are steroids taken?
Doctors can prescribe steroids to treat cancer in several different ways:
- By injection into the muscle (intramuscular or IM)
- Through a vein (vi)
- By mouth (or orally), either in syrup or pill form
- In the form of a cream to be applied to the skin
Your doctors will give you all the details, but there are a few things to remember when you take steroids by mouth to treat cancer. Both syrup and steroid pills have a somewhat unpleasant bitter taste
To make sure you don’t skip any doses:
- Dissolve the syrup in a small amount of a liquid that you like to drink, such as your favorite juice.
- Or you can add a few drops of flavoring, such as chocolate or mint syrup, to the teaspoon of syrup you should take.
- Steroid pills are quite small, and mixing them with applesauce or a nice piece of pudding can make it easier.
What else should I know about steroids?
Steroids can irritate the stomach. To protect yourself, you should take them with food, so you don’t have an empty stomach. Your doctor may recommend that you take a stomach protector, either over the counter or over the counter (such as Zantac, Pepcid, or Prilosec). It may help to start taking these medications a couple of days before you start taking steroids and continue taking them for a couple of days after you stop taking steroids.
Don’t stop taking steroids without your doctor’s approval. If you notice anything strange while you are being treated with steroids, inform your doctor immediately. Sometimes steroids must be slowly reduced (known as gradual withdrawal). Other times, doctors will have to stop the medication suddenly. In such cases, your body may have a withdrawal-like reaction if you expose yourself to a stressful situation, such as having a fever or infection.
You may have a steroid card or medical alert bracelet. Many steroid treatments are done in a doctor’s office or clinic. But if you are on steroid treatment for a long time and need to take the pills home, you may be recommended to have a steroid card or wear a medical alert bracelet. In this case, you should always carry the medical alert card or bracelet with you. In a medical emergency, the card or bracelet would inform doctors that you are being treated with steroids, which could change the type of treatment you should receive.
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