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Cholesterol-Lowering Statins Can Lower Risk of Cancer

Update Date: Nov 08, 2012 10:24 AM EST

According to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Copenhagen, the consumption of cholesterol-lowering statins can decrease the risk of cancer.

For people who consume statins to lower their cholesterol levels, there's good news. These statins not only reduce cholesterol levels, but also lessen the risk of being diagnosed with cancer, say researchers from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

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A report published in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine states that these statins also help people who are in the initial state of cancer, as they decrease the growth of cancer cells in the body as well as makes them easier to treat since they become more receptive to certain therapies.

"Regular statin use before and after a diagnosis of cancer could theoretically reduce cancer-related mortality," wrote study leader Sune F. Nielsen, a biochemist at the University of Copenhagen who based his findings on an analysis of more than 5.5 million people in Denmark.

A survey also shows that considering the food habits of the people in the U.S., many Americans take statins to keep their cholesterol levels under check. While it is a known fact that high levels of cholesterol can disrupt the flow of blood in the body by narrowing or blocking arteries, it has also been found that a certain amount of cholesterol is required by the body to remain in good health.

One of the key functions of cholesterol is that it helps to build and maintain cell membranes, and is essential for their proliferation. Therefore, when one consumes statins, there is a limited production of cholesterol in the body, which in turn is unfavorable for cancer cells to grow and survive.

Through the study, Nielsen and his colleagues found that patients who had been diagnosed with cancer were 15 percent less likely to die from the fatal disease if they started taking cholesterol-lowering statins than people who didn't.

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