There are two big “C’s” – cardiovascular disease and cancer – that we are fighting today. A study published in the American Journal of Pathology reveals that high cholesterol levels not only cause atherosclerosis and heart disease but can also contribute to prostate cancer development and progression.
The link between cholesterol and cancer has been observed in laboratory mice fed with high fat, high cholesterol diet and treated with the cholesterol uptake-blocking drug ezetimibe. The researchers observed that the fatty cholesterol rich diets promoted tumor growth whereas the drug ezetimibe prevented the tumor growth while lowering cholesterol levels at the same time. Ezetimibe works by blocking the absorption of cholesterol by the intestine.
Thus, the study results suggest
Prostate cancer is a very common cancer, affecting approximately 1 in 6 American men. Previous research studies have linked prostate cancer with the so-called typical “Western diet” which is rich in fat and high cholesterol. Progression of prostate tumors have also been linked to serum cholesterol levels.
Last December, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted that cancer will overtake cardiovascular disease as the world’s top killer in 2010. When the projected cancer statistics were published last year, it was noted that there are similarities between the two big C’s. The American Heart Association (AHA) issued a statement saying that
“The risk and demographic factors they have identified as predictive of an increase in cancer deaths are the very same factors that are going to result in more cardiovascular deaths, too, so we are on the same track.”
Some of these factors, mainly lifestyle factors are:
- tobacco use
- high calorie, high-saturated and trans-fat diets
The fact that people in less developed countries are rapidly adopting the “Western lifestyle” listed above led to the prediction that cancer and cardiovascular disease will rapidly increase worldwide despite the fact that they are currently declining in the US and other developed countries
According to AHA President Tim Garner
The American Heart Association has been working for decades to move out of that ‘top spot’ of being the number one killer. It’s a distinction that none of us want to have. And unless we can do better in reducing these risk factors in the United States, it may be a long time before we can shed the title of number one.”
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