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Statins "cut bowel cancer risk"

New research has claimed that the chances of developing bowel cancer can be cut 12% by taking cholesterol-lowering drugs used to prevent heart problems.

An analysis of 22 studies involving more than 2.5 million participants found that statins reduce the risk of bowel cancer, with the most common type of statin, known as lipophilic, having a significant impact.

Long-term statin use has been associated with a reduced risk of several cancers, including breast, prostate, lung, pancreas and liver - and now bowel.

Statins block the production of cholesterol in the liver and help prevent the build up of hard deposits on the walls of arteries. They are normally taken by people with diabetes, at risk of heart attacks or with abnormally high cholesterol levels.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK, affecting around 38,600 people a year. About 16,260 people in the UK die from the disease each year, though death rates are falling.

Lead researcher Dr Jewel Samadder, from the University of Michigan, said: "Statin use was associated with a statistically significant reduction in colorectal cancer. Our findings suggest that randomised controlled trials designed to test the hypothesis that statins reduce the risk of colorectal cancer are warranted."

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