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So, you have been told to 'lower your cholesterol' with drugs. But could it be causing cancer?
A concerning new study published in the journal Clinical Epidemiology[i] has found that "statin use is associated with thyroid cancer in female patients."
Researchers hypothesized that in the presence of the female dominant hormone estradiol – a form of estrogen – statins are ineffective at exhibiting their long claimed 'cancer-protective properties.'
Another new study, however, also published in the journal Clinical Epidemiology, proposes that the problem lies in the immunosuppressive properties of the statin drugs themselves.[ii] Indeed, at Greenmedinfo.com, we've indexed over 25 different modes of toxicity within this drug class, with immunotoxicity figuring high on the list. You can view them all listed under the 'Adverse Pharmacological Actions' field set on our statin research page.
The reality is that the multi-billion dollar statin industry, invested as it is in promoting the concept that statins are anti-cancer agents, is guilty of publication bias, i.e., they only publish pro-statin studies and leave the negative or null finding studies in the wastebasket, even if it is highly unethical not to publish research that disproves their health benefits, or indicates their unintended, adverse effects.
In fact, there is an accumulating body of data indicating that statin drugs are actually cancer-promoting agents. Below is a sampling of the research on the topic:
- Heart Lung Circ: Statin use is associated with increased cancer incidence and death.
- CMAJ: Statin use is associated with increasing risk of cancer as age increases.
- J Am Coll Cardiol: Statin use is associated with increased risk for cancer.
- Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev: Long-term statin use is associated with an increased risk of ductal and lobular breast cancer among women 55-74 years of age.
- BJU Int: Statin use has an adverse effect on biochemical outcomes following radical prostectomy.
- Prostate: Statin use increases the risk of prostate cancer.
- Expert Opin Drug Saf: Statin drugs are associated with increased risk of kidney cancer.
- QJM: Statin drugs are associated with an increased risk of cancer.
This latest study on the potential for statin-induced thyroid cancer is supported by previous case studies. For instance, a report published in 2000 titled, "Development of thyroid follicular adenoma on simvastatin therapy," describes a patient who "developed follicular adenoma with prominent Hurthle cell changes after being on simvastatin for three months but not during one year of pravastatin therapy."[iii] The report advised:
"In elderly female patients with hyperlipidemia requiring pharmacologic treatment, especially those with a prior history of multinodular goiter, one should consider using an agent which has not been shown to cause thyroid tumors even in animal models. Patients should continue to be followed with frequent periodic thyroid palpation in addition to the usual biochemical monitoring required while on these agents."
Physiological studies using an animal model have also found statin-induced enhanced growth in the thyroid (thyroid hypertrophy),[iv] indicating its potential for contributing to thyroid cancer.
Given that statins have been linked to over 300 adverse effects in both the animal model and human studies. Should we surprised that they contribute to cancer, as well?
It is important for the reader to understand that, despite the alarm raised here, the topic of cancer is complex, and thyroid cancer is one of the more highly misdiagnosed forms. Please read our expose titled, "Thyroid Cancer Epidemic Caused by Misinformation, Not Cancer," to learn more.
For natural/integrative approaches to lipid suppression, or better yet, for research that leads to the identification and removal of the 'root causes' of cardiovascular disease, please visit our Health Guide: Heart Health for more information.
[i] Shih-Han Hung, Herng-Ching Lin, Shiu-Dong Chung. Statin Use and Thyroid Cancer: A Population-Based Case-Control Study. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2014 Jul 30. Epub 2014 Jul 30. PMID: 25074346
[iii] E L McCord, S Goenka. Development of thyroid follicular adenoma on simvastatin therapy. Tenn Med. 2000 Jun ;93(6):210-2. PMID: 10846948
[iv] P F Smith, S J Grossman, R J Gerson, L R Gordon, J G Deluca, J A Majka, R W Wang, J I Germershausen, J S MacDonald. Studies on the mechanism of simvastatin-induced thyroid hypertrophy and follicular cell adenoma in the rat. Toxicol Pathol. 1991 ;19(3):197-205. PMID: 1780636