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Corticosteroids in terminal cancer


Glucocorticosteroids are widely used to treat advanced cancer of the breast,1 2 lymphomas and leukaemias,3 4 and brain tumours, but doubts about benefit and fear of unwanted effects have limited their use in other forms of malignant disease. Glucocorticoids have been given to patients with cerebral oedema, airways obstruction, superior vena caval obstruction, recurrent haemoptysis, hypercalcaemia and thrombocytopenia. They have also been prescribed for their non-specific effects on mood, anorexia and weakness.

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