Steroids for secondary breast cancer

You may have steroids as part of your treatment or to control symptoms and help you to feel better.

Steroids may be given:

They are usually only given for short periods of time so the side effects aren’t usually too troublesome.

Possible side effects include:

  • indigestion – take your steroids with food as prescribed
  • having increased energy or feeling restless – let your doctor or nurse know if this is a problem
  • difficulty sleeping – try taking your steroids earlier in the day
  • increased appetite and weight gain – talk to your specialist nurse or a dietician if you’re concerned about this
  • a higher level of sugar in the blood – you may have blood tests or your urine checked for this.

Sometimes steroids are given in high doses and are gradually reduced after you’ve had treatment with radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Having higher doses of steroids for a longer period may cause more side effects. These can include:

  • mood swings
  • weight gain
  • swollen feet or legs due to fluid retention
  • being more likely to get an infection.

Talk to your doctor or specialist nurse if you are concerned about side effects you are having.

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