Living with a brain tumour: Taking steroids

Living with a brain tumour: Taking steroids

It can also be used to treat some rare non-cancerous conditions. The side effects will vary and depend on the individual drug. General side effects can include tiredness, headaches, feeling sick and muscle or joint aches. You usually have chemotherapy by injection or a ‘drip’ into a vein, or as tablets.

  • Some cancers can increase the risk of developing blood clots.
  • Contact your hospital if you have severe vomiting and cannot drink any fluids without vomiting, even if it happens at the weekend or during the night.
  • They help to control many functions including the immune system, reducing inflammation and blood pressure.
  • It is used to treat different cancers and some types of leukaemias and lymphomas.
  • If you need medical treatment for any reason other than cancer, always tell the doctors and nurses you are having cancer treatment.

Please ensure they are given plenty of notice to arrange any repeat prescriptions. If you run out of steroids you must inform your GP immediately as you should not stop taking your steroids suddenly. Your GP will have been sent a copy of your discharge summary, including the list of medication you were prescribed on discharge from hospital.

Stopping a longer course of steroids

Docetaxel is used to treat primary breast cancer (cancer that has not spread beyond the breast or the lymph nodes under the arm) in combination with other chemotherapy drugs. Steroids are commonly given to reduce and prevent inflammation around a brain tumour, particularly after surgery or during radiotherapy. The inflammation causes oedema, which is when plasma-like fluid builds up in the spaces between brain cells. Cryotherapy is a method of killing cancer cells by freezing them.

Join one of our Online Support Communities for more stories and tips about coping with a brain tumour diagnosis from people who know what you’re going through. You should never suddenly stop taking steroids or reduce your dosage without guidance from your medical team. Your healthcare team will talk through what will happen and discuss any potential side-effects with you before any steroids are given.

Good prostate cancer care

High-dose treatment with stem cell support involves storing your stem cells and returning them to you after treatment. This allows you to have much higher doses of chemotherapy than usual. A donor stem cell transplant can be used to treat cancers such as lymphoma, myeloma and leukaemia.

Treatment during the coronavirus pandemic

In children and teenagers, steroids can sometimes cause growth to slow down, so they’ll need to have their height checked regularly. If growth is slowed, they might be referred to a specialist doctor for advice. Your doctor, rheumatology nurse or pharmacist should give you a steroid card if you need one.

Other types of pain relief

Taking these drugs does not mean that you have the condition they are usually used to treat. Anabolic steroids can be used as performance-enhancing drugs that increase muscle mass and decrease fat, as well as causing many undesirable effects. Some people take them regularly to improve their physical performance and build up their bodies.


If the cancer is in its early stages and not causing symptoms, you may decide to delay treatment and wait to see if any symptoms of progressive cancer develop. If prostate cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the chances of survival are generally good. Sometimes, if the cancer has already spread, the aim is not to cure it but to prolong life and delay symptoms. When treatment is necessary, the aim is to cure or control the disease so it affects everyday life as little as possible and does not shorten life expectancy.

What’s in the ‘Pain and pancreatic cancer’ information section?

They can also make your skin more oily, which can cause spots (acne) – this is more common on the face, back and chest, and in younger people. Steroids are often part of treatment for both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including skin (cutaneous) lymphoma. If you have a severe reaction, treatment will be stopped immediately and you may not be given docetaxel again.

You should also be told about any clinical trials you may be eligible for. Always make sure you have enough tablets on repeat prescription, by talking to your GP. “I put on seven stone, became depressed and didn’t want to go out. Then I was diagnosed with diabetes insipidus and a fatty liver and told to lose weight.

After taking steroids

It’s important that you have these vaccinations to reduce your chances of getting these infections. Your doctor may advise you to take drugs called bisphosphonates, or calcium and vitamin D supplements, along with the steroids to help prevent this. Regular exercise, especially things that involve your bones carrying the weight of your body, such as walking, can also help to reduce the risk of getting osteoporosis.