Researchers have released the results of a new study that found that statins, which are prescribed to control the levels of so-called "bad" cholesterol in the body, also appear to reduce a person's risk of developing certain cancers. The scientists conducted their study while working at the Maccabi Healthcare Services in Israel. It was published by the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, which is published in turn by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study from Israel comes on the heels of other research also released on Thursday that found that the cardiovascular benefits of using statins outweighed the risk that the person taking them would develop diabetes from their use. According to a report by My Health News Daily, patients who took statins were 39 percent less likely to develop some form of cardiovascular illness, compared to those that took a placebo.
Here is some of the most recent key information to emerge from studies regarding the effects of statins.
* The amount that statins appear to reduce the risk of cancer depends upon the particular cancer, according to the study from Israel. The risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma appeared to be reduced by 25 percent, while the risk of developing other lymphomas was reduced by as much as 31 percent.
* This secondary benefit was most obvious in patients who had consistently taken statins for five years or more, according to the study. The decreased cancer risk also appeared to only be true for men. Researchers stated that this gender disparity warranted further study in the future.
* In an NBC News report on Thursday that revolved around the new research from Israel, it was noted that a large study completed in December of last year had also indicated that statins may reduce the risk of death from certain cancers as well, particularly prostate cancer.
* A Reuters report at the time quoted Dr. Stephen Freedland from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., who said that other measures that the men took to improve their overall health, including increased exercise and healthier eating, may actually have more to do with the decreased risk of cancer appearing in studies revolving around statins. He acknowledged at the time that it's "very, very tricky to sort out."
* The study released on Thursday regarding the use of statins in preventing cardiovascular events was funded by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which manufactures the statin Crestor.
* According to the report in My Health News Daily, researchers examined health information from some 17,600 participants, who were randomly assigned either Crestor or a placebo.
Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in health and nutrition issues.