Steroids may or may not be prescribed for DIPG/DMG patients after first being diagnosed. If steroids are prescribed, the goal would be to decrease edema (swelling) around the tumor and, in doing so, improve neurological symptoms. Steroids will not serve to stabilize, reduce, or remove the tumor. Some clinical trials, especially immunology trials, may not be as effective with prolonged steroid use. It can be difficult to wean a patient from long-term steroid use.
Side effects from steroids include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Increased hunger
- Weight gain
- Anger, mood swings/behavior changes
- Acne/skin changes
- Muscle weakness
- Blurred vision
- Increased risk of Cushing’s disease
- Increased risk of diabetes
CBD, CBD/THC, Boswellia, turmeric, and other supplements have all been used by patients as potential alternatives to steroid use. These potential alternatives may not have the side effects of steroids, but these supplements have not been adequately studied for conformity, results, side effects, or impact on the tumor itself. Before starting any supplements, you should talk with your medical team.