Steroids can help stop the adrenal glands producing as much testosterone.Steroids may also help improve your appetite and energy levels, and can treat pain. You might also have steroids in combination with other treatments, including chemotherapy and abiraterone.
Steroids you may take include:
Like all treatments, steroids can cause side effects. But steroids are given in a low dose to treat prostate cancer, so most men don’t get many side effects. These will affect each man differently, and you might not get any side effects. Before you start treatment, talk to your doctor or nurse about the possible side effects. Some of these are listed below.
- Steroids can cause indigestion and irritate the stomach lining. You should take them after a meal, and you may be prescribed medication to reduce the irritation.
- Some men have an increased appetite. Try to eat a healthy diet.
- You may have more energy and a more active mind. This can make you feel irritable, anxious or have trouble sleeping. Speak to your doctor or nurse if you’re having any problems. If you take steroid tablets twice a day, taking the second tablet early in the afternoon (before 4pm) can help with problems sleeping.
- You may get water retention, which can cause swollen hands and feet. This is usually only a problem if you are taking steroids for a long time.
- The risk of getting infections may be slightly higher. Tell your GP if you have any signs of infection, such as a high temperature.
- Your skin may bruise more easily. This shouldn’t cause any problems.
- Steroids can cause raised blood sugar levels. You may have your blood sugar level checked. Tell your doctor if you are urinating more often or get very thirsty, as these can be signs of high blood sugar.
Don’t suddenly stop taking steroids as this can make you ill.
You will be given a steroid treatment card, which explains that you are taking steroids. You should carry this with you at all times. Show it to anyone treating you (such as a doctor, nurse or dentist), as it’s important that they know you are taking steroids.