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High cholesterol has been associated with breast cancer

Harold Mandel's picture
A low cholesterol fuit and green olive salad

There is a keen interest among many women in the association between dietary factors and breast cancer. It is generally agreed that eating a lot of fruit and vegetables may very well help prevent breast cancer. It is also advised to replace animal fats with polyunsaturated fats, which are found in many vegetable oils and margarines, and monounsaturated fats such as in olive oil to reduce the risk for breast cancer. New research has linked high cholesterol levels with an increased risk for breast cancer.

Hypercholesterolemia is a risk factor for breast cancer

Hypercholesterolemia has been found to be a risk factor for estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancers reported the journal Science. Hypercholesterolemia is also associated with a lowered response of tumors to endocrine therapies. It has been observed the lowering of circulating cholesterol levels may be a useful strategy to prevent or even to treat breast cancer.

Statins may help prevent breast cancer

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In a study including more than 1 million patients over a 14 year time period in the United Kingdom an association was found between high blood cholesterol and breast cancer reports the European Society of Cardiology. Dr Rahul Potluri, the lead author of this study, said that the preliminary study has suggested that women with high cholesterol in their blood may be at an increased risk of getting breast cancer. This has raised an interest in the possibility of preventing breast cancer with statins, which lower cholesterol.

Obesity is linked to breast cancer

Studies over the past few years have suggested there is an association between obesity and breast cancer. A study last year in mice lead to the conclusion that decreasing circulating cholesterol or interfering with its metabolism may be used to prevent or even to treat breast cancer. Dr Potluri has said there is an acceptance of a general principle that obesity is linked to breast cancer. A study in mice has suggested this may be because of cholesterol.

Dr Potluri says the results of this preliminary finding are promising. A significant association has been found between having high cholesterol and developing breast cancer which should be explored in more depth. Dr Potluri feels these findings are exciting and that more research in this field may have a dramatic impact on patients several years down the line.

In view of the consistent finding of an association between dietary factors and breast cancer it would appear wise for women to eat healthy to help avoid this dreaded cancer. Although it is an interesting suggestion that statins, which lower cholesterol, may be helpful in decreasing breast cancer risk, many women may prefer a natural approach whenever this is possible. Along with a low fat diet which is rich in fruit and vegetables daily exercise is also advisable to help prevent breast cancer.