By Vanessa Chalmers Health Reporter For Mailonline
Published: 18:18 GMT, 21 November 2019 | Updated: 18:20 GMT, 21 November 2019
Men who are on statins have a 24 per cent lower risk of a deadly form of prostate cancer, a study suggests.
Scientists followed more than 44,000 British men over more than two decades, some of which took the cholesterol-lowering pills.
The overall prevalence of prostate cancer was the same regardless of whether or not men took statins.
However, statins appeared to protect against a more aggressive and incurable type of prostate cancer – known as PTEN-null cancer – which spreads to other organs.
The researchers, from Queen’s University Belfast, suggested this is because statins reduce inflammation and increase immunity levels in the prostates.
It backs up a slew of recent studies which have shown that patients taking statins are less likely to die from cancer.
Men who are on cholesterol-lowering statins have a 24 per cent lower risk of a deadly form of prostate cancer, a study suggests (stock image)
This is the first research to specifically assess how the drugs might affect prostate cancer, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men with almost 48,000 diagnoses a year in the UK and more than 1.2million worldwide.
Lead author Dr Emma Allott said: ‘Some prostate cancers are slow growing and will not affect the man over the course of his lifetime, but others are aggressive and often deadly.
‘My work is to understand the biology driving these different types of prostate cancer in order to reduce the number of men who develop this lethal form of the disease.
Prostate cancer is the growth of tumours in the prostate gland.
Only men have a prostate, which is a walnut-sized gland between the rectum and the penis which creates a fluid to be mixed with sperm to create semen.
More than 11,800 men a year - or one every 45 minutes - are killed by prostate cancer in Britain, compared with about 11,400 women dying of breast cancer.
It means prostate cancer is behind only lung and bowel in terms of how many people it kills in Britain. In the US, the disease kills 26,000 each year.