Does statin treatment prevent cancer?

December 2012

In my October 2012 newsletter I told you how it is possible to manipulate our minds to think that statins protect against almost everything. Here is another example.

Last month Danish researchers published a paper in New England Journal of Medicine entitled Statin use and reduced cancer-related mortality. They had studied how many people who had got the diagnosis cancer in Denmark between 1995 and 2007, how many who had died from cancer and how many of them who had been treated with statins before the cancer was discovered. What they found was that fewer had died among those who had got a statin prescription during this period. Therefore they concluded that statin treatment protects against cancer.

What they ignore is, that at least four studies have shown that people with low cholesterol have a greater risk of getting cancer 20-30 years later, and that people with familial hypercholesterolemia have a lower risk of cancer.

What they also ignore is that three statin experiments resulted in more cancer in the treatment group and with statistical significance.

What they also ignore is that several studies of cancer patients and patients without cancer have shown that the cancer patients had been treated much more often with statins than the control individuals.

What they also ignore is the Japanese study the authors of which treated more than 40,000 patients with a low dose simvastatin. Seven years later three tomes more among those whose cholesterol had been lowered the most had died from cancer compared with those whose cholesterol was unchanged .

Those who advocate for statin treatment deny the cancer risk by referring to reviews of the statin trials, which have found no increase of cancer. There is a serious error in these reviews because they have excluded skin cancer from the calculations, although skin cancer is the first cancer type we should expect to see, if statin treatment is carcinogenic, because it is easy to diagnose at an early stage. Indeed, in the two first simvastatin trials 4S and HPS skin cancer was seen more often in the treatment groups, and if the figures from the two trials are calculated together the increase was statistically significant. Since then the number of skin cancer has not been recorded in any statin trial.

The reason why cancer was seen less often among statin-treated people is probably because they have lived most of their life with high cholesterol, which, as I mentioned, protects against cancer, whereas the untreated have lived most of their life with normal or low cholesterol, and low cholesterol is, as mentioned, a risk factor for cancer. Furthermore, nobody knows how many of the statin-treated patients who really took the drug. A Canadian study for example have found that most old people who have been prescribed statin treatment have stopped the treatment after two years

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