NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults - page 57

57
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
: Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults
Version 2013
Part 5: Understanding your treatment options
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Corticosteroids (prednisone, prednisolone, methylprednisolone, and
dexamethasone) are man-made versions of hormones made by the
adrenal glands—small structures found just above the kidneys—which
help regulate blood pressure and reduce inflammation. Corticosteroids
are not the same thing as the steroids used by some athletes.
Corticosteroids can be given orally (as a pill or a liquid), intravenously, as
a cream, or by injection. They may be used as an anticancer treatment,
often in combination with chemotherapy, or on a short term-basis to
relieve side effects of treatment, such as:
Nausea,
Swelling,
Allergic reactions, and
Reduced appetite.
Corticosteroids can be enormously helpful, but they do have side effects,
including:
Indigestion or heartburn,
Swollen hands, feet, or ankles,
Increased risk of infection,
Changes in blood sugar levels with high-dose or long-term
treatment,
Changes in mood, and
Difficulty sleeping—taking your tablets early in the day may help.
If your doctor prescribes corticosteroids, be sure to take them
exactly
as prescribed.
A word on corticosteroids
Definitions
Chemotherapy:
Drugs
that kill all cells that grow
rapidly, including cancer
cells and normal cells
Enzymes:
Proteins
that speed up chemical
reactions in the body
Hormones:
Chemicals in
the body that activate cells
or organs
Intravenous:
Administration of a drug
through a vein
Side effects:
An
unplanned physical or
emotional response to
treatment
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