Can Prednisone Cause Cancer or make it worse?
by DGPG, May 25, 2009
I have had to take Prednisone many times for asthma and bronchitis.  I am almost always given a dose pack for  one or two weeks at a time.  While I am taking the Prednisone, I almost always have pain in my right side under my rib cage.  Sometimes I have the pain when I am not taking the steroids, but I can count on the pain when taking them.   The pain is sometimes so bad that I have to reduce the dosage faster and can't take it for the entire time, therefore not getting the full benefit of the drug for my lungs.   The pain feels like my right side is swelling  and pressing up under my rib cage.  Sometimes when I have that pain, I have rectal bleeding with clotts, but I have had a lot of tests:    (colonoscopy, endoscopy, CAT scan, ultrsound, small bowel follow-through),  over the last couple of years trying to find out what causes the pain, and my doctor says the bleeding is caused from hemorroids.   It sometimes hurts when I am NOT taking steroids, but it gets worse, for sure, when I take them.  Although I have never drank any alcohol, my doctor says I have a "fatty liver," and I wonder if that could be the cause of the pain.   I also wonder about the small intestine.   Have you ever heard of anyone having side pain when taking prednisone?   I heard that if you have certain types of cancers, and you take Prednisone, it makes the cancer grow more rapidly.  Is this true?
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Member Comments (3)
by caregiver222, May 25, 2009
Prednisone is a mixed blessing. It is a hormone, a poloypeptide, and a signaling substance. While on prednisone the chances of getting many infections increases dramatically.

It degrades the natural immune system. It reduces inflamation and the response to antigens, or non-self substances.

In one study, with rats receiving daily doses of prednisone for six months every test animal developed multiple malignancies.

This study does not mean you will always get cancer if you have been on prednisone over six months. It does raise a yellow flag, and suggests that every effort should be made to reduce the amount of prednisone used and to find other ways to reduce asthmatic problems (i.e. dust precipator in the room) whenever possible.

That being said, prednisone can be a life-saving drug, especdially with asthmatics or people with COPD. You can be just a dead from an asthmatic attack as from pneumonia.

The use of inhaled steroids significantly decreases the whole-body dose and the chande of a malignancy.

Side pain is not common with prednisone. My guess is you have a small infection, and whenever you take prednisone it flares up. This would not necessarily show on a conventional scan.

You have to wean off prednisone if you have been taking it for a long time. Over a week.  If you don't you can experience problems, such as adrenal insufficiency. If you are prerscribed prednisone for a short time (two or three days) you can generally stop without weaning, although weaning is always advised.

You need to get the hemorhoids taken care of because they cause significant blood loss, and that translates into less oxygen per unit volume, more difficulty breathing, and an increased use of prednisone. Normal hematocrit is 45-46 for a male. I have come on people who neglect hemorhoids who have dropped to a hematocrit of 17.
by DGPG, May 25, 2009
Thank you so much for the information.  It helps me a lot.  I have wondered how important it is to get the hemorhoids fixed, and since I have asthma and tend to get sick easily,  I have been afraid to have surgery on a problem that seems more aggravation than dangerous.  Thanks for explaining why I need to wean off of the prednisone too.  You have been a big help.  What a wonderful website!
by triniqueen, Oct 29, 2010
can prednisolone use in a 12years old boy cause fracture of lesser trochanter or psoas muscle to shift away from the femur