Cancer can effect anyone at any time of their lives. Millions of people every year are diagnosed with some form of cancer. The effects of cancer and its treatments can be painful, demanding on the body, and debilitating. There are forms of medication available that can help fight some types of cancers and relieve the symptoms of the disease.
What is prednisone?
Prednisone is from the corticosteroid family of drugs. It reduces substances in the body that cause inflammation. It can also inhibit the immune system. It can reduce swelling and inflammation around joints and tumors, and it can help with skin conditions, asthma, psoriasis, and lupus. It is a very potent medication and you should always consult your doctor before starting treatment. Ensure you read all the information provided and understand all the side effects that come with taking this drug.
How is it Used in Cancer Treatment?
The drug is very powerful and is used in many different branches of medicine. In cancer treatment, it is used in the following ways:
- To help treat some leukaemias or lymphomas
- To prevent nausea and vomiting caused by some chemotherapy drugs
- To reduce blood calcium levels in patients with certain bone cancers
- To help avoid transplant rejection in patients receiving new organs
- To prevent allergic reactions to other cancer drugs
- To increase the patient’s appetite during treatment.
Prednisone alters immune system responses which could account for its ability to treat blood cancers like leukaemia by attacking white blood cells, causing them to self-destruct. Moreover, its anti-inflammatory abilities allow the medication to reduce swelling in certain areas, such as around tumor sites. Why it increases appetite and reduces nausea however, remains relatively unknown. Its potency means it has been used in cancer treatments for a number of years, as well as in most other branches of medicine.
What are the Side Effects?
Prednisone can interact with a number of other drugs, so ensure you inform your doctor about all medications you are taking before he prescribes this treatment. It can also suppress the immune system, so it is vital that you stay healthy and out of contact with people carrying infections. It may interact with certain foods and make other medications or vaccinations ineffective. It can also cause some other side effects:
- Swelling to the face, feet, hands, or abdomen
- Increased blood glucose levels
- Delayed wound healing
- Weight gain & increased appetite
- Upset stomach
- Trouble sleeping
- Headaches & dizziness
- Mood changes e.g. feeling depressed or confused
If you are suffering from cancer or another condition, talk to your health professional about the benefits and risks of taking prednisone as an effective treatment for the type of cancer or disorder you are suffering from. As always, keep yourself informed about side effects and interactions. It is an aggressive drug and as such you should never stop taking this medication suddenly or do so without the advice of a doctor.