Statin drugs may lower colon cancer risk: study

Statin drugs, which are used to lower cholesterol, may also lower the risk of colon cancer by as much as 12 percent, U.S. researchers have reported. The longer people took the highly popular cholesterol-lowering pills, the lower their risk of later developing colon cancer, the researchers told a meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.

Many researchers have found that statin drugs, which include Pfizer Inc’s Lipitor and AstraZeneca Plc’s Crestor, have effects far beyond lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease. Here’s another one to add to the list, and here are the details from Reuters Health:

“Observational studies have suggested that long-term use of statins is associated with reduced risk of several cancers, including breast, prostate, lung, pancreas and liver,” said Dr. Jewel Samadder of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, who led the study.

Samadder’s team did what is known as a meta-analysis, combining the findings of 22 scientific studies with more than 2.5 million volunteers. Overall, patients who took statins had a 12 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer than people who did not take the drugs, they found.

Statins are not risk-free. In May, British researchers reported that patients taking them have a higher risks of liver dysfunction, kidney failure, muscle weakness and cataracts.

Nevertheless, the benefits of statins, for most patients, wildly outweigh any potential risks. And now, one of the statins, lovastatin, is available on the $4 plan at most pharmacies.

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