More Evidence Links Statins to Cancer Prevention
A large study has found that people who took cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins for at least 5 years had a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. The new results underscore the broad public health potential of statins at a time when the research window of opportunity for these drugs may be closing.
The case-control study, led by researchers at the University of Michigan Cancer Center and the CHS National Cancer Control Center in Haifa, Israel, found that people who took statins for at least 5 years had a 47 percent reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer compared with those who did not take statins.
The study included about 4,000 people in northern Israel, approximately half of whom had colorectal cancer. All were interviewed about health, lifestyle, and medication use; the most widely used statins were simvastatin (Zocor) and pravastatin (Pravachol). Read more
Now More Than Ever: Positive Health Strategies Make a Difference
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last week that in 2002 and 2003, the proportion of smokers between 18 and 24 years old had reached its lowest point since 1991. Overall, the agency reported, smoking rates are continuing to decline. This promising news comes on the heels of other recent research findings that are shedding further light on the extent to which lifestyle factors and choices affect cancer risk and outcomes.
A study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed, for instance, that women with breast cancer who engaged in moderate exercise - anywhere from 3 to 5 hours a week - reduced their risk of death by half compared with women who did little or no exercise. A similar study presented at the recent ASCO annual meeting reached a similar conclusion: a 40- to 50-percent reduction in the recurrence of stage III colon cancer in those who engaged in regular exercise after treatment.
In an analogous finding earlier this year, data from the Lung Health Study showed that intensive smoking cessation counseling translated into a striking improvement in both overall and lung cancer survival among those who quit. The progress achieved in cancer prevention is an excellent example of the success possible when evidence-based interventions are adopted in the community. Read more