This is a brief guide on steroids and cancer.
Do steroids cause cancer though?
There is a common misconception that steroids cause cancer, but steroids do not cause cancer. Steroids can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancers, but they are not the sole cause.
More on this pretty soon.
There are many different factors that lead to the development of different types of cancers, so it is important to understand what steroids do and how they affect your body.
In this article, we will discuss steroids and their relation with cancer in detail so you have all the information necessary for making an informed decision about steroid use if you choose to take them or avoid them altogether.
Before we delve into this matter in detail – lets take a look at what steroids are its relation to health.
Table of Contents
What are Steroids?
Steroids are a type of hormone that is produced naturally in the human body.
Hormones play an important role in regulating different bodily functions, including metabolism and reproduction.
Steroids can also be synthetically created and used as medication. They are often prescribed to treat conditions such as asthma, arthritis, or inflammation.
Steroids are available in both oral and injectable forms.
The idea of steroid usage and adoption in sports and fitness started way back in 1954 when Dr. John Ziegler, a physician for the US weightlifting team, learned about steroids from Russian weightlifters.
After learning about the benefits and effects of steroids – he started prescribing them to his patients and athletes.
Steroids were then brought into the limelight in 1988 after Ben Johnson (a Canadian sprinter) tested positive for steroids and was subsequently banned from the Olympics.
There are a dozen more cases like this.
Also, in the medical space, steroids have a long and illustrious history. They were first synthesized in the 1930s, and their effects on hormone balance were studied soon thereafter.
Interest in steroids as potential therapies for a wide variety of diseases was high from the start, and treatments using steroids continue to this day.
What do steroids do?
When steroids enter the body, they travel to different parts of the organ where they attach to specific receptors. This activates or suppresses certain genes that control the production of other hormones.
This process can have a range of effects on different parts of the body, including:
- increases in muscle mass
- decreases in body fat
- increased bone density
- a stronger immune system
and many more.
Steroids can have both positive and negative effects on the body, which is why they should be taken under medical supervision.
Now that we know what steroids are and what they do, lets take a look at their relation to cancer.
The connection between steroids and cancer has been a topic of debate for many years.
What causes cancer?
There are quite a few different factors that can lead to the development of cancer. Some of these include:
- smoking and other tobacco use
- exposure to radiation or carcinogens
- unhealthy diet and obesity
- lack of exercise
- alcohol consumption
Each of these factors can increase your risk of developing cancer, but they are not the only things that can contribute.
It is important to remember that cancer is not a single disease – it is actually a term used to describe a group of diseases that affect the cells in the body.
This means that there can be many different causes of cancer, and steroids are just one possible factor.
The Connection of Steroids and Cancer: Can steroids cause cancer?
As we mentioned earlier, steroids can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancers.
This is because steroids affect the way your body produces other hormones, including sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen.
These hormones have an important role in the development of some cancers, including prostate cancer and breast cancer.
However, it is important to remember that steroids are not the sole cause of these cancers – there are many other factors that contribute as well.
So, while steroids may increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer, they are not guaranteed to do so.
There are many different factors that contribute to the development of cancer, so it is difficult to isolate steroids as the sole cause.
However, steroids can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
The most common cancers that are associated with steroid use are:
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
- Liver cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Cervical cancer
These are not the only cancers that can be caused by steroids, but they are the most common.
Each of these cancers has a different set of risk factors, so it is important to understand your individual risk before taking steroids.
Lets take testicular cancer as an example.
Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer in young men aged 15-35.
There are a number of risk factors for developing testicular cancer, including:
- a family history of the disease
- undescended testicles
- abnormal testicle size or shape
- early onset of puberty
- and, of course, steroids
While steroids are not the only risk factor for developing testicular cancer, they are one of them.
You see one thing that makes steroid users prone to testicular cancer is that steroids change the chemical balance in their body and testosterone levels go up.
And when testosterone goes up, estrogens go up. And when estrogens go up, that’s when you start having problems.
Do you get the point?
Why are steroids given to some cancer patients?
While steroids may increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, they can also have some benefits for people with cancer.
Some of these benefits include:
- a stronger immune system
- less nausea and vomiting
- reduced swelling and inflammation
- improved breathing
What cancers are treated with steroids?
From my in-depth research, I found that not all cancers are treated with steroids.
Some of these cancers include:
- multiple myeloma
Steroids are also often given to people with cancer to help reduce swelling and inflammation, improve breathing, and more.
How long do steroids work for cancer?
Well, before steroids were used to kill cancer cells, tumors grew and metastasized unchecked.
Cancer patients receiving steroids for the first time often see tumor shrinkage within days.
This is in stark contrast to traditional chemotherapy which may take weeks or even months to show any benefits.
Once a patient goes into remission, steroids are tapered slowly so as not to cause a relapse.
Steroids are often used to help control cancer, but the length of time they work varies depending on the individual and the type of cancer they have.
Your doctor will be able to tell you how long steroids should be taken for your particular cancer.
How do steroids work for cancer?
Cancer cells have a number of features that make them different from normal cells.
One of these features is the way they produce energy. Cancer cells produce energy by breaking down glucose in a process called glycolysis.
Steroids work for cancer by blocking the ability of cancer cells to use glucose for energy. This kills the cancer cells and stops them from growing and spreading.
Besides blocking the use of glucose, steroids also work by stopping cancer cells from dividing and growing.
What about steroids and cancer pain?
Okay, so steroids may increase your risk of developing cancer, but what about cancer pain?
Do steroids help with that?
Actually, they can.
One of the ways steroids work for cancer is by reducing inflammation.
This can not only help to reduce pain, but it can also help to improve function and quality of life.
How this works is that steroids help to reduce the number of pain signals that are sent from the tumor to the brain. Then the brain doesn’t get so overwhelmed with pain signals and the person can actually start to feel better.
Final Thoughts on Steroids and Cancer Growth
Do steroids cause cancer?
So, while steroids may increase your risk of developing cancer, they are not guaranteed to do so.
Steroids are a controversial drug with many risks, but they can also have some benefits for people with cancer.
Some of these benefits include a stronger immune system, less nausea and vomiting, reduced swelling and inflammation, improved breathing, and more.
While steroids may increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, they can also be used to help control cancer.
How long steroids work for cancer varies depending on the individual and the type of cancer they have.