Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cholesterol lowering statin drugs and Cancer!

Today I came across an article in Medical News Today (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/) in the section under the Main Category: Cholesterol News which re-opened my eyes to the scary connection between statin drugs and cancer. I've linked to the full article under Credible Evidence.

The first paragraph of this article states the following:

"Statins, a type of LDL cholesterol-lowering drug, were recently shown to have a significant, positive association with newly diagnosed cancer cases. When newly diagnosed cancer cases were correlated with cholesterol reduction, a disturbing significant correspondence was found, and recently published as, "Effect of the Magnitude of Lipid Lowering on Risk of Elevated Liver Enzymes, Rhabdomyolysis, and Cancer, by Alsheikh-Ali, et al., in Journal of the American College of Cardiology (Vol. 50, No. 5, 2007, pages 409-418)."

So I ask "Would you rather die of a Heart Attack or from Cancer?" Of course if we had our druthers we'd likely all say 'NEITHER' Right? Well think about it for a moment then answer.

And If I was a betting man I'd bet this won't make the big time news.

Furthermore it's not even new news.

The PROSPER trial found a 25% increase in newly diagnosed cancers among elderly individuals treated with pravastatin (Pravachol). There were 24 more deaths from cancer to more than offset the 20 fewer deaths due to coronary heart disease. This had also been observed in animal tests earlier with one of the highest increases observed in the gastrointestinal cancers. And who should be suprised that the PROSPER authors dismissed these findings by referring to pooled analysis which showed no statistically significant difference in cancer incidence between placebo and statin groups. The PROSPER trial did not even include skin cancer. Two others did however, the Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study (4S) and the HPS simvastatin trial. They both noted an increase in skin cancer. And in the CARE trial 12 women taking pravastatin developed breast cancer whereas only one in the placebo group developed breast cancer.

Other quotes from the Medical News Today article :

"Following the adage, "lower is better," intensive LDL cholesterol lowering has been practiced by physicians on their patients throughout America since 1987, with Lovastatin and more recently with a new generation of statins."

"With statin use, the increase in cancer deaths offset (counteract) the lower cardiac mortality associated with lower cholesterol, resulting in a neutral effect of overall mortality. TRANSLATION: With statins, you don't die of a heart attack, instead, you die of cancer."

Well now that you've thought about it would you die of a heart attack or of cancer?

A side note that makes this a bit personal for me:
  • I was on cholesterol lowering statins for roughly 20 years beginning in the mid 1980s. I finally discontinues taking statins sometime in 2004

  • In 1994 (with low cholesterol) I had a heart attack resulting in open heart surgery.

  • P.S. Five subsequent heart attacks (most recent Jan 31, 2012), three requiring stents - all while having well below 'their recommended' serum cholesterol readings. (added this item Oct 8, 2007)

  • In 2003 I had a fist sized gastrointestinal cancerous tumor removed along with about 9 inches of my small intestine.

  • I've had one basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) surgically removed about 3 years ago.

  • I personally have no data to tie these events in my life together.

  • I feel good now - like none of the above had happened. It almost seems surreal. But I've had five subsequent heart attacks - three with stents and there is some possibility that the cancer could reappear.

Something is going to get me sooner or later.

What will it be?
I'd pick the heart attack over cancer.

Am I worried? NO!

Because I believe the words of this hymn:

I know not why God's wondrous grace to me he hath made known,
nor why, unworthy, Christ in love redeemed me for his own.

But I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able
to keep that which I've committed unto him against that day.

I know not how this saving faith to me he did impart,
nor how believing in his word wrought peace within my heart.

I know not how the Spirit moves, convincing us of sin,
revealing Jesus through the word, creating faith in him.

I know not when my Lord may come, at night or noonday fair,
nor if I walk the vale with him, or meet him in the air.

But I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I've committed unto him against that day.

1 comment:

  1. You should read Dr. Lundell's Great Cholesterol Lie for this. It's such an eye opener, IMO.


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