Study links high cholesterol to breast cancer

breast cancer awareness ribbon Study links high cholesterol to breast cancerControlling high cholesterol may help prevent breast cancer, a new study shows. However, current medications that help lower cholesterol levels could lead to other health issues.

Researchers at the Aston University School of Medicine Sciences in Birmingham, England, reviewed medical records of more than 660,000 female patients between 2000 and 2013, and found a connection between high cholesterol and breast cancer. From this, researchers determined that high cholesterol increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer by nearly two thirds.

Obesity can be a contributing factor for breast cancer, and researchers say that may be because high cholesterol and obesity often go hand-in-hand.

Despite the findings, researchers say that the association between breast cancer and high cholesterol does not indicate a direct link between the two conditions.

“This is a preliminary study and further research is required before anything can be confirmed,” said lead author Rahul Potluri. “However, 10 to 15 years down the line, if further prospective studies confirm these findings, there is the possibility for a clinical trial of the use of statins in breast cancer.”

Cholesterol-lowering statins, such as the widely prescribed Lipitor, can help lower cholesterol levels, but many patients have difficulty tolerating its side effects. Statin side effects include muscle injury and liver damage. The drugs can also raise blood sugar levels, putting users at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Older women are at the greatest risk of developing the chronic disease.

Type 2 diabetes puts people at risk for serious health complications including heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and blindness.

Source: CBS News