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Prednisone and the treatment of cancer

Direct effect of Prednisone

Prednisone is a treatment in its own right for lymphomas and leukemias. It is also highly effective in the treatment of some tumors, either reducing them in size or eliminating them altogether.

How does Prednisone work?

This drug matches hormones produced naturally in the adrenal gland. By supplementing the body’s supply, it reduces inflammation and changes the way in which your body’s immune system responds to challenges. As to lymphomas and leukemias, it produces a better balance between red and white blood cells by reducing the number of cancerous white cells. In the case of tumors, the body normally produces an excess of white blood cells which travel to the site of the tumor. At the least, this increases the swelling around the growth. With Prednisone, the white cell count is reduced and there is little or no swelling.

Prednisone in combination with other drugs

When cancer is diagnosed and there has been surgical intervention, it is usual to follow up with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. This is designed to reduce the risk that the growth of cancerous cells will resume. Unfortunately, some people experience a number of adverse reactions to the drugs used for chemotherapy and the irradiation. For some, the administration is followed by symptoms of nausea and vomiting. For others less fortunate, there is an allergic response to the chemicals which begins with the development of hives and, if the treatment is continued, causes breathing difficulties followed by possible damage to the liver and kidneys. With both sets of symptoms, Prednisone is effective in reducing the skins disorder, eliminating inflammation of the airways, and controlling the sensation of nausea. Where the cancer is in the bones, it improves outcomes to treatment by reducing the level of calcium in the blood.

So whether as a treatment in its own right or in suppressing adverse reactions to chemotherapy or irradiation, Prednisone has an excellent track record.


People who have (had) cancer talk about prednisone:


I’m past my menopause and had a mastectomy three years ago followed by radiotherapy and prednisone, So far, there’s no sign of any cancer. My doctor’s really pleased. She reckons my survival chances are looking better all the time and she puts that down to the prednisone.


I’m a senior diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. I don’t want the surgery. I still manage sex every now and again and I’d rather keep that than have someone cut me down there. I’ve been taking prednisone as one of the drugs and my doctor swears this is keeping me alive (and enjoying sex).




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