10
Mar
2022

Steroids For Cancer Treatment: Why It’s Effective?

Steroids are a naturally occurring substance in your body. Hormones assist manage your body’s response to infection or damage, as well as the speed of your metabolism and other functions.

Artificial steroids known as corticosteroids can be used in medicine to assist break fevers, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain. Manufactured steroids, which come in the form of pills, creams, and injections, allow us to better manage the amount of steroids in our bodies while also taking benefit of their healing properties.

Despite the fact that steroids are widely utilized in a variety of medical conditions, there are many misconceptions regarding them. How do they function? Is it possible to have too much? Are there any negative consequences?

We spoke with Ishwaria Subbiah, M.D., to discover more about the benefits and risks of steroids-usa, as well as how they’re used in cancer treatment.

What are some of the conditions that steroids are used to treat? What role do they play in cancer treatment?

Your body’s normal response to an incident, whether it’s trying to heal a cut or combat an infection, is inflammation. Both of these things are beneficial, but they can also be painful. Steroids can help reduce inflammation, which can aid with pain management.

Steroids play a variety of roles in cancer treatment. For starters, they’re sometimes included in cancer treatment, such as in the case of certain lymphomas and multiple myeloma.

Second, they’re particularly helpful at reducing chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting.

They can also help with CT scans, which take images of your body to find cancer for initial diagnosis and to monitor how the cancer responds during therapy. A contrast dye is utilized to obtain clear images, however some people are allergic to it. Steroids can help patients manage their allergies so they can safely receive contrast dye and have CT scans.

Furthermore, MD Anderson research has shown that steroids can help with cancer-related fatigue, which is not the same as tiredness from a long day. Your energy level is typically substantially lower than it was previously, and you are unable to pinpoint a single culprit. We’ve seen how a tiny amount of steroids can help people gain energy and improve their quality of life. It’s crucial to understand that while steroids don’t affect cancer, they can make you feel more energized when you’re through cancer treatment.

How do you figure out how much steroid to give a patient?

The duration and strength of a steroid prescription are determined by the circumstances. Because your lungs and airways are inflamed, we’ll give you very high-dose steroids if you’re gasping for air due to asthma or COPD. We want to bring that high dose down rapidly since struggling to breathe might be life-threatening.

If you have cancer-related fatigue, however, we may recommend a lower dose of steroids that you can take once or twice a day for a limited time to assist improve your quality of life.

You may need to take replacement steroids by mouth for the rest of your life if you have endocrine dysfunction due to a problem with your pituitary gland or adrenal gland.

Are there any adverse effects to steroid use?

Yes, steroids can have an impact on a variety of bodily functions. Steroids, for example, can alter how your body regulates sugar levels, causing them to rise, which is crucial if you have diabetes. We work with our endocrinology team or your primary care doctor to adjust the doses of your diabetes meds so that your diabetes is still maintained while you’re on steroids at MD Anderson.

Steroids can also affect the way you think. They can make you feel more energetic or even euphoric in most cases. If you take your steroid dose later in the day, it may keep you awake at night, disrupting your sleep-wake pattern. Steroids can also produce confusion, particularly in the elderly and when taken in large dosages over long periods of time. Steroid psychosis is the medical term for this. Patients may have muddled thoughts or words, lose track of where they are, or become agitated.

Steroids can stimulate your appetite, which can lead to weight gain. Steroids also have an effect on the health of your bones and muscles, which might be an issue if you use them for a long time.

Swelling, particularly in the legs and face, can develop in people who have been on steroids for a long time.

Steroids, on the other hand, have been used in cancer treatment for decades. We’re well aware of the side effects of these medications and how to deal with them. As with any medications, your medical team weighs the risks and advantages of having a steroid in your cancer treatment plan. You can decide whether or not adding a steroid is right for you by working together.

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