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Statins, Vitamin D3, Omega-3, Selenium, and Breast Cancer

Updated: Oct 9, 2022

In honor of breast cancer awareness month, I decided to continue the series of articles revealing the truth about statins, focusing on the increased risk of breast cancer found in statin trials.


As with the first statin article, when reading the following, the first bold heading is a brief statement introducing the study. Next is the study’s reference (author, title, journal information, and web address). Then, I try to present the findings in an easy-to-read and exciting manner.


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Long term statin use shows a 2-fold increased risk of breast cancer.


McDougall, J. A., et al. (2013). Long-Term Statin Use and Risk of Ductal and Lobular Breast Cancer among Women 55 to 74 Years of Age. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 22(9): 1868–1876. https://doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0414


This study is a large population-based case-control study of the two most common histologic subtypes of breast cancer, invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), among women 55 to 74. Approximately 70% of all invasive breast cancers diagnosed among postmenopausal women are ductal, and approximately 20% are lobular (Li & Daling, 2007).


The study included 916 women with IDC and 1068 with ILC. Both groups of women were compared with 902 women who were breast cancer free.


Results:

  • Women who used statins between five and ten years had a 26 percent increased risk of IDC, which is consistent with three other studies (Boudreau et al. 2007; Jacobs et al. 2011; Pocobelli et al. 2008).

  • Researchers found long-term statin use (10 or more years) to double the risk of IDC and ILC.

The researchers conclude, “Our finding of an increased risk only among current long-term statin users suggests that the chronic dysregulation of the mevalonate pathway and/or long-term lowering of serum cholesterol may contribute to breast carcinogenesis.”


Case-controlled study finds a significant risk of breast cancer among statin users.


Eaton M., et al. (2009). Statins and Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women without Hormone Therapy. Anticancer Research, 29(12), 5143–5148.


This Retrospective analysis was performed in Fargo, North Dakota, and explored the association between statin use and the risk of breast cancer among overweight or obese postmenopausal women who have never used hormone therapy. The study included 95 women diagnosed with breast cancer and 94 controls. Although this is a small sample for a study, it drives the point of this article home.


Results:

  • Statin use was shown to have a 30 percent increased risk of breast cancer compared to women not taking statins.

  • Women who used atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, or simvastatin had a 310 percent increased risk of breast cancer.

Statin use increases the risk of breast cancer in a study with almost 54,000 women.


Beck, P., et al. (2003). Statin use and the risk of breast cancer. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 53(3), 280-285. Retrieved from https://www.jclinepi.com/article/S0895-4356(02)00614-5/fulltext Subscription needed


The study included 13,592 women who used statins and 53,880 unexposed women. The subjects were followed up for 8.5 years with a mean follow-up of 4.2 years to determine the relationship between statin use and breast cancer.


Results:

Women who used statins had a nine percent higher risk of breast cancer than unexposed women.


The researchers conclude that their study does not support the association between statin use and breast cancer risk.


Denise M Boudreau, D. M., et al. (2007). Statin use and breast cancer risk in a large population-based setting. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 16(3), 416-21. DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-06-0737.


This cohort study followed 92,788 women aged 45 to 89 years old for an average of 6.4 years.

The objective was to evaluate the association between statin use and breast cancer risk.


Results:

  • Statin users had a 7.4 percent increased risk of breast cancer.

  • The risk of breast cancer increased with the duration of statin use.

  • Statin use for three to 4.9 years was associated with a 4 percent increased risk of breast cancer.

  • Statin use greater than five years was associated with a 27% increased risk of breast cancer.

The take-home message from the above is, do not take statins. There are plenty of safe and healthy alternatives to avoid heart disease. Moreover, if someone is currently taking a statin, strongly consider discontinuing it. Statins do one thing well, lower cholesterol. However, for this to be a benefit, one must believe that cholesterol causes heart disease. Furthermore, if one believes the myth that cholesterol causes heart disease start educating oneself by reading The Cholesterol Myths by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, Ph.D.


So, now that we understand one of the most prescribed classes of drugs increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, the rest of the article will focus on a few common micronutrients and lifestyle factors women can control to reduce their risk of breast cancer.


Vitamin D3

The objective of the following investigation by McDonnell et al. (2018) was to examine the relationship between vitamin D3 levels and breast cancer risk among women aged 55 years and older. Data from two randomized clinical trials (RCT) and a prospective cohort study were combined to provide a large sample size for statistical strength.


As one can see on the chart below, this investigation revealed that women with vitamin D levels at or above 60 ng/ml had an 80% lower risk of breast cancer than women with levels less than 20 ng/ml.



Omega-3 (Fish Oil)

A meta-analysis of 21 studies on omega-3s and the risk of breast cancer by Zheng et al. (2013) concludes that higher consumption of omega-3s corresponds with a lower risk of breast cancer. The chart below shows that as the dose of omega-3s increases, the relative risk of breast cancer decreases.


Selenium

Demircan et al. (2021) looked at breast cancer outcomes among 1996 patients with primary invasive breast cancer and correlated them to selenium status. The study's objective was to test the association of low selenium status with poor survival and high recurrence following breast cancer diagnosis.


As the chart below shows, patients with the highest serum selenium levels had a 58% lower risk of death than those with the lowest serum selenium levels.



Lifestyle factors are by far the number one way to reach optimum health and avoid all types of cancer. These will be expanded on in a future article.

  • Do not smoke.

  • Be grateful for what you have.

  • Surround yourself with positive people.

  • Get moving - the more intense the activity, the better.

  • Strictly reduce sugar consumption.

  • Only cook with beef tallow, lard, coconut oil, avocado oil, palm oil, olive oil, and butter.

  • Consume plenty of pastured animal products.

  • Only eat organic, non-GMO products.

  • Turn off your Wi-Fi at night.

  • Get outdoors and enjoy the sun all year.

Supplements discussed above that help reduce the risk of breast cancer:

Opti Vitamin D 5000iu Among all the functions D3 has in our bodies, optimizing immune function is a major one.


Opti Omega Opti Omega provides 820 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as well as 50 mg of docosapentaemoic acid (DPA) per soft gel as natural triglycerides, which is the most absorbable form.


Michael Furci is a Family Nurse Practitioner at Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center. To schedule a free consultation or make an appointment call (440)239-3438.


References


Boudreau D. M., et al. (2007). Statin use and breast cancer risk in a large population-based setting. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 16, 416–421. DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-06-0737


Demircan, K. (2021). Serum selenium, selenoprotein P and glutathione peroxidase 3 as predictors of mortality and recurrence following breast cancer diagnosis: A multicenter cohort study. Redox Biology, 47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2021.102145


Jacobs E. J., et al. (2011). Long-term use of cholesterol-lowering drugs and cancer incidence in a large United States cohort. Cancer Res, 71, 1763–1771.


Li, C. I. & Daling, J. R. (2007). Changes in breast cancer incidence rates in the United States by histologic subtype and race/ethnicity, 1995 to 2004. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 16, 2773–2780. DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-07-0546


McDonnell, A. L., et al. (2018). Breast cancer risk is markedly lower with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations 60 vs <20 ng/ml (150 vs 50 nmol/L): Pooled analysis of two randomized trials and a prospective cohort. PLOS One, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0199265


Pocobelli G., et al. (2008). Statin use and risk of breast cancer. Cancer, 112, 27–33. https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.23129


Zheng, J., et al. (2013). Intake of fish and marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of breast cancer: meta-analysis of data from 21 independent prospective cohort studies

BMJ, 346 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f3706

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