Valuable research points to the fact that there is a definite link between statins and reduced levels of breast cancer and mortality. But what are statins and what critical role do they play in this?
Statins are a class of drugs that doctors prescribe to lower cholesterol. They work by blocking the enzyme, MG-CoA reductase, which is required by the body to produce cholesterol. Statins also prevent and treat heart disease by reducing blood cholesterol.
Researchers explored the effects statins have on the cancer process at the molecular level. From this, they found that statins inhibit certain cellular functions that prevent tumours from surfacing, growing and metastasis.
Statins are known to reduce or even block the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase from performing any activity in the area and so reduce mevalonate levels and its related products. Mevalonate has a huge role to play in cell membrane integrity and signaling, cell cycle progression and protein synthesis. These factors are possible intervention areas that can prevent the cancer from progressing.
There is an impressive body of research on the link between statins and lowered levels of breast cancer and mortality. According to research, patients on statins to reduce their cholesterol levels had a 40% chance of not dying prematurely. Their risk to develop cancer also fell by 50%.
Another research conducted is considered the most conclusive on the subject. Over a 14 year period, a study found in over one million women that they reported lower rates of breast cancer and had increased mortality rates. This research was presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress and proposes the idea that statins are inevitably linked with lower breast cancer rates and higher mortality rates among women. It is considered to be the most definitive piece of research on the subject.
However, doctors are not prescribing statins to their patients for fear of the latter's side-effects. The leading side effects of statins include muscle pain and damage, liver damage, type 2 diabetes or higher levels of blood sugar and neurological side effects.
According to researchers, there is a likely chance of a connect between breast cancer and high cholesterol because the subjects were on statins. Statins worked to lower the level of LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in the blood, hence reducing the chances of women being diagnosed with high cholesterol and subsequently breast cancer. This increases their survival or mortality rates, proving thereby the efficacy of statins for breast cancer.
Every year, about 50,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer. Each year, about six million Britons take statins to lower their chances of having a stroke or heart attack by lowering their cholesterol levels. However, the good news now is that there is solid evidence that these statin pills can also work effectively to fight dementia, certain cancers and multiple sclerosis.
While statins continue to prove their worth as solutions to lower cholesterol in women and subsequently breast cancer, more doors of doctors open to embrace it for its stellar worth.