According to a large study, women who take drugs that lower cholesterol levels seem to have a lower risk of dying from cancer.
However, United Kingdom experts cautioned that randomized trials were needed to confirm whether the findings were directly due to the drugs’ effects.
The study spanned over fifteen years and followed almost 150,000 post-menopausal women between the ages 50 to 79.
The study’s results were reported at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual conference in Chicago.
The women who reported taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs were less likely to have died of cancer than those who were not taking the drugs.
The results showed lower death rates among those taking statins for several common cnacers including breast, bowel and ovarian cancers.
Unfortunately, lung cancer death rates did not appear to be affected, contrary to previous cancers.
Overall, patients taking the statins were 20% less likely to die of cancer during the course of the study.
The study was designed to take into account other factors that affect cancer risk, such as family history, age, BMI and smoking rates.
However experts assert that these results don’t prove that post-menopausal women should take statins to lower their risk of dying from cancer. Nonetheless, experts are excited by the results.
Previous research has suggested that cholesterol helps cancer spread.
This idea was supported by the new findings, which found no difference in the rate women developed cancer among the different groups on the study.
Other studies are exploring whether the drugs could help treat the disease.
Researchers do caution that more research is needed before they can definitively say whether it would be beneficial for more women to take statins.
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