Cholesterol Lowering Drugs and Breast Cancer: Might as Well Smoke Instead

I am no fan of cholesterol lowering drugs, especially the statins. I thought I was aware of all of the dangerous side effects, but this one caught me by surprise.

My office staff recalls a fundraising event a number of years back for a local cancer organization.  The keynote speaker to a group of maybe 250 attendees was a respected general surgeon here in Chandler.  At the beginning he talked about prevention of breast cancer and my heart rate jumped up slightly in anticipation of hearing him deliver something profound about preventing breast cancer to this captive audience.

Over the next ten minutes or so I went over the long list of things we know to be protective against breast cancer.  Exercise.  Plant based diet.  Non-GMO soy.  Vitamin D.  Less stress.  Cruciferous veggies.  I was trying to guess which one he would throw out to the receptive audience.


He mentioned that statins may turn out to lower the risk of breast cancer.  I felt a hand on my shoulder holding me back from running to grab the mike.  Hundreds of things he could have mentioned and he throws out STATINS????  Needless to say we have never gone back to this fundraising event.

Now, years later, we see how completely off base this doctor was.  This particular study looked at whether or not the long term (10+ years) use of statins actually INCREASED the risk of breast cancer.  Here’s what they found:

  1. Current users of statins for 10+ years had an 83% risk of invasive ductal carcinoma (the scary kind).
  2. There was a 97% increased risk of invasive lobular carcinoma.
  3. If there was a diagnosis of elevated cholesterol (and wouldn’t this be almost the entire group??) had a more than double the risk of both invasive ductal carcinoma.
  4. High cholesterol diagnosis and cholesterol lowering drug use ups risk of invasive lobular carcinoma a massive 243%.

Given that this class of drugs flat out sucks at primary prevention of heart attacks, there is not a whole lot more to say on the topic, is there?

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.