Just in the last few years research has come out implying that taking statins may provide an edge over different types of cancer.
But are statins wonder drugs? That depends on who you talk to…
40 million Americans take them every day, prescribed by their doctors to help lower cholesterol levels. But statistics show that heart disease is still winning. 655,000 Americans still die from heart disease each year.
Statin use has also been associated with Parkinson’s disease, type two diabetes and dementia risk.
With all the negatives associated with statin use, it’s as if research is being conducted in a desperate attempt to find the next big use for the most lucrative pharmaceutical ever marketed.
Could cancer be next?
What the studies say
Johns Hopkins researchers analyzed almost three decades’ worth of data and concluded that statin use was “associated with a statistically significant lower risk of dying from colorectal cancer in participants without cancer at baseline.”
A study published in August 2021, led by researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, found an association between statins and survival rates of triple-negative breast (TNBC) cancer patients. Their research found a 58 percent relative improvement in breast cancer-specific survival and a 30 percent relative improvement in overall survival with statin use. TNBS is an especially aggressive type of breast cancer.
in 2019, Chinese researchers published the results of a meta-analysis of 14 studies involving more than 130,000 people to assess the overall and cancer‐specific survival benefit of statin use on colorectal cancer patients. They found that taking a statin both before and after a cancer diagnosis was associated with a reduced number of deaths overall and a reduction in cancer-specific deaths among colorectal cancer patients.
A 2018 study suggests that “long-term use of lipid-lowering medications was associated with a lower risk of developing prostate cancer, and that current use appeared to be associated with a lower risk of fatal prostate cancer among men without the diagnosis at the start of follow up.”
A Johns Hopkins observational study of more than 10,000 women with epithelial ovarian cancer found that “women who were taking any type of statins had a reduced mortality of 40 percent, and those taking lipophilic statins had a 43 percent reduction in mortality,” according to a report in The ASCO Post.
Sounds perfect, but is it?
But before we get too excited let’s dig a little deeper…
Red flag number one: Regarding the most recent research at MD Anderson Cancer Center with triple-negative breast cancer, Kevin Nead, M.D., assistant professor of Epidemiology and lead researcher, said “There is already a body of literature on statins and breast cancer and the results have been inconsistent.” In fact, I came across a study from 2013 that found long-term use of statins was associated with the increased risk of two types of breast cancer: invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC).
Red flag number two: The statin use in the study was incidental — meaning the women were already on statins when they entered the cancer study. The only association that appeared to indicate long-term use of statins may lower the risk of cancer development was in the case of prostate cancer.
Red flag number 3: The researchers also said the improved outcomes may be stronger in women with early-stage TNBC (isn’t cancer survival typically better when caught early?), and that high-intensity statin use has the strongest effect on overall survival rate among the women with TNBC.
Red flag number 4: Two studies (those on ovarian cancer and TNBC) named lipophilic statins as having the highest association with survival rate. That type of statin, which includes names like simvastatin, lovastatin, atorvastatin, fluvastatin and pitavastatin, was found to more than double the risk of dementia in people with mild cognitive impairment, compared to statin non-users.
Red flag number 5: “Prospective trials are needed to validate these study results and to better define the potential role of statins in TNBC treatment.” Meaning, they really need to dig a lot deeper before statins can be considered safe or effective for cancer treatment.
Is it the statins or lifestyle making the difference?
Cancer strikes fear in everyone, loved ones as well as those diagnosed. So who wouldn’t be tempted to try anything to beat any type of cancer? Especially one with limited treatment options like TNBC.
After all, millions of people seek alternative cancer treatments every day in hopes of beating those five-year survival rates. Conventional medicine is much more critical of those treatments, though.
But when it comes to statins, there’s just as much to consider…
“We don’t yet know if statins are making the difference or if patients taking statins are more conscious about their diet and cholesterol and actively modifying their diet to lower cholesterol,” says Pankaj Vashi, MD, AGAF, FASPEN, Vice Chief of Staff at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), Chicago.
We already know that diet is powerfully effective when it comes to cancer…
In fact, a healthy diet can help prolong life for cancer patients and cancer survivors, says University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center member Suzanna Zick, N.D., MPH.
Dr. Vashi also cautions that statins come with their own risks and side effects…
“Statins aren’t safe to take unless a person has high cholesterol. They elevate liver enzymes and may cause severe muscle cramping and pain.”
Editor’s note: Discover how to live a cancer prevention lifestyle — using foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs — as well as little-known therapies allowed in other countries but denied to you by American mainstream medicine. Click here to discover Surviving Cancer! A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis!
Can cholesterol-lowering statins also cut cancer risk? — cancercenter.com