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Low cholesterol link to cancer

Prescribing patients statins to lower their cholesterol levels may also put them at risk of developing cancer, research shows.

A study of 41,173 patients published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found one extra patient per thousand with low cholesterol levels developed cancer in comparison with those who had high cholesterol levels.

But scientists say they do not believe their research proves a "causal link".

John La Rosa wrote in an accompanying editorial: "These current findings provide insufficient evidence that there is any problem with LDL lowering that outweighs its significant benefits on vascular disease."

However, he adds: "We must continue to be vigilant in ensuring that its benefit clearly outweighs its risk."

June Davison, cardiac nurse for the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: "We have known about the association between low cholesterol levels and cancer for some time now.

"There is overwhelming evidence that lowering LDL cholesterol through statins saves lives by preventing heart attacks and strokes. These findings do not change the message that the benefits of taking statins greatly outweigh any potential risks.

"People should not stop taking their statin treatment on the basis of this research. If people have any concerns they should consult their doctor".

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