Women with high cholesterol may have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, as compared with women without high cholesterol. The authors of a recent study speculate that taking drugs called statins may protect against breast cancer.
Researching from Aston University in the United Kingdom collected information for over 1 million patients in the North West of England from 2000 and 2013. They included just over 16,000 women who were diagnosed with high cholesterol and an age-matched group of the same number of women without high cholesterol for comparison. The average age of the women was 66 years.
After 14 years of follow-up, the researchers found a lower proportion of the high-cholesterol group developed breast cancer, compared with the group that did not have such a diagnosis at baseline (0.5 percent versus 0.8 percent). The high cholesterol group also had lower rates of death (14 percent versus 24 percent). We will need additional studies to understand why, but perhaps the statin drugs provide protection against breast cancer. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.