Statin Drugs May Reduce the Risk of Death Due to Cancer





 

A new study suggests that cholesterol lowering statin drugs may reduce the risk of dying of cancer.


 

 

STATIN DRUGS MAY REDUCE THE RISK OF DEATH DUE TO CANCER

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, cholesterol-reducing statin drugs can significantly reduce the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease in people with high cholesterol levels, and may also reduce the risk of cancer-related death.  However, the potential role of statins in preventing cancer, and cancer-associated death, remains unclear at this time, as much of the research evidence in this area, to date, has been contradictory.  At the same time, some of the known biological actions of statin drugs could conceivably play a role in reducing the risk of cancer, and reducing death rates due to cancer, through their anti-inflammatory and cholesterol reducing effects.

Now, a newly published Danish public health study, which appears in the current issue of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, strongly suggests that the use of statin drugs may significantly decrease the risk of death due to cancer.  In this study, the medical records of all Danish citizens diagnosed with cancer between 1995 and 2007 were reviewed.  Altogether, clinical data was available for a whopping 295,025 patients diagnosed with cancer over this 12-year period.

When the authors of this study looked at death rates due to all causes, the use of varying daily doses of statin drugs reduced the risk of death from any cause by 13 to 18 percent, when compared to death rates among patients who did not take statins.  At the same time, varying daily statin doses were also observed to reduce cancer-associated death rates by 13 to 17 percent, when compared to patients who did not take statin drugs.

In summary, the findings of this enormous public health study suggest that statin drugs may significantly decrease not only the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, but also the risk of dying from cancer as well.  Fortunately, there are more than a dozen randomized prospective clinical research trials underway at this time that are evaluating the appropriate role of statin drugs in the management of multiple types of cancer.


 

A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race is now available in both printed and digital formats from all major bookstores.  Get your copy now, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle!


Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1


At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.




Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 



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Statin Drugs Reduce Heart Attacks and Strokes Even in Low-Risk Patients





 

 

A pivotal new study concludes that statin drugs sharply reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke even in patients who are at low risk for cardiovascular disease.




 

 

STATIN DRUGS REDUCE HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES EVEN IN LOW-RISK PATIENTS

The cholesterol-lowering drugs known as “statins” are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the world, and they have been credited with sharply reducing the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke.  The statin drugs work primarily by lowering blood levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), thus reducing the risk of developing the arterial plaques that cause cardiovascular disease.

There is a huge body of research data showing that statin drugs reduce death rates due to cardiovascular disease in patients with elevated levels of LDL cholesterol, including patients with only mildly-to-moderately elevated LDL cholesterol levels. However, there have also been several intriguing public health studies that have suggested a potential benefit associated with statin drugs even in patients with normal LDL cholesterol levels.  Despite these research findings, however, there has been a general reluctance to prescribe statin drugs to patients with normal LDL levels, or to patients with mildly elevated LDL levels, particularly as statin drugs, like all medications, are associated with known side effects, including potential injury to the muscles, liver and kidneys, as well as a possible increase in the risk of diabetes.  Now a massive new research study, which appears in an early-release edition of the journal Lancet, may lead to a wholesale change in the way that physicians prescribe statin drugs.

This newly published study, a meta-analysis study, combined and analyzed the data from 27 different statin research studies, which included nearly 175,000 adult research participants, making this an enormously powerful research study.  In this study LDL cholesterol levels were measured, and the impact of statin drugs on the incidence of heart attacks (myocardial infarction) and stroke, and death due to cardiovascular disease, was observed.  Study participants were grouped into five different categories, based upon their estimated 5-year “cardiovascular event” risk, ranging from less than 5 percent to greater than 30 percent 5-year risk.  This risk assessment was, in turn, calculated using LDL cholesterol levels, age, gender, blood pressure, and lifestyle factors such as tobacco use and physical activity levels.

Not surprisingly, the use of statins decreased the risk of cardiovascular events, on average, by about 21 percent for every 1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol among the entire volunteer group of nearly 175,000 study participants.  What is particularly important about this study’s findings, however, is that the study participants in the two lowest risk groups experienced at least as much (if not more) benefit, in terms of reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke, as did the participants in the higher risk groups.  For example, patients with a calculated 5-year risk of heart attack or stroke of less than 5 percent experienced a 38 percent reduction in the risk (for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) of either of these cardiovascular events, while patients with a calculated 5-year risk of 30 percent or higher experienced a 21 percent reduction (for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) in the risk of a major cardiovascular event.

When looking at heart attack or death due to heart attack, specifically, the study participants with a 5-year predicted risk of heart attack or stroke of less than 5 percent experienced an enormous reduction in the risk of heart attack or death due to heart attack (43 percent for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) while taking statin drugs.  This same low-risk group, when taking statins, also had a 48 percent reduction (for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) in the likelihood that they would have to undergo surgical procedures to stent or bypass blocked coronary arteries.

The risk of stroke was also significantly reduced in both low-risk and high-risk study participants.  For example, patients with a calculated 5-year risk of major cardiovascular events of less than 10 percent were 24 percent less likely to have a stroke (for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) if they were taking a statin drug, which was similar to the reduction in stroke risk that was observed in the higher risk patients.

The public health implications of this very large study’s findings are highly significant.  For the first time, this study provides extremely compelling data that even patients who are at low risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke may derive as much, or perhaps even more, benefit from taking a statin drug when compared to patients who are high or very high risk of experiencing these major cardiovascular events.  When measured against the known risks of the adverse side effects of statin drugs, this study still showed an overwhelming health benefit associated with statin drugs in both patients at low-risk for cardiovascular disease and in high-risk patients.  It will now fall to public health experts, internists, cardiologists and family practice physicians to incorporate the findings of this exceptionally compelling, and powerful, meta-analysis study into their management of adult patients, and particularly those over the age of 50, even if these patients are predicted to be at low risk for heart attack and stroke.  I see this research study as a health care game changer, and I predict that it will, eventually, dramatically alter the current prescribing patterns for statin drugs.  (As always, I recommend that you consult your physician before starting any new medication or dietary supplement, including statin drugs.)


 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.



Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 





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Statin Drugs Decrease Prostate Cancer Risk

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



 

STATIN DRUGS DECREASE PROSTATE CANCER RISK

As I discuss in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, the role of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs in cancer prevention continues to be debated because of contradictory research findings. (While some clinical research studies have suggested that long-term statin use may reduce cancer risk, other studies have not shown any apparent improvement in cancer risk associated with these commonly prescribed medications.) However, a newly published public health study from the Veterans Affairs New England Healthcare System, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests that statin drugs may be associated with a significant decrease in the risk of prostate cancer.

In this very large study, the medical records of 55,875 veterans were evaluated. Among this large group of veterans, 41,078 were taking statin drugs, while the remaining 14,797 men were taking medication for high blood pressure (but not statin drugs.) When the incidence of prostate cancer was assessed in each of these two groups of men, the researchers performing this research study found that there was a 31 percent decrease in the incidence of prostate cancer among the group of male veterans that took statin drugs. Moreover, the incidence of high-risk (high grade) prostate cancer among the men taking statins was a whopping 60 percent lower than that observed among the veterans who were not taking statin drugs.

Although the precise mechanism(s) of action is not entirely clear, long-term statin use in this large group of older male veterans appeared to significantly reduce the overall risk of prostate cancer, as well as the risk of more aggressive types of prostate cancer. (Like other research studies, this study also found a trend towards increased prostate cancer risk in men with elevated levels of cholesterol in their blood, and so decreased cholesterol levels, due to statin drugs, may explain, at least in part, the decrease in prostate cancer risk observed in the veterans who took statins in this research study. However, statin drugs also reduce inflammation in the body, and chronic inflammation of the prostate gland is also thought to be a risk factor for this common form of cancer.)

As with all clinical research studies that are based upon the review of patient medical records, the results of this research study need to be confirmed with a prospective, randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled clinical research trial. Until this “gold standard” method of clinical research is performed, however, this large retrospective study of U.S. veterans offers some of the strongest research evidence linking long-term statin drug use with a decreased risk of prostate cancer.



For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.





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