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Expatriate Healthcare News: Statin drugs could lower cancer return rate

In news that may be of interest to international health insurance customers, research has shown that taking statin drugs while receiving radiation therapy may help prevent prostate cancer from returning.

Published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics, the research showed that men with high-risk prostate cancer who took statin drugs, which are commonly used to lower cholesterol, were less likely to see their cancer return that the patients who underwent radiation therapy without taking these medications.

A total of 1,682 men with high-risk, localised prostate cancer were monitored in the study between 1995 and 2007.

They were all treated with radiation therapy, while 23 per cent of them were also taking statin medication at diagnosis and throughout treatment.

Eleven per cent of the men on the statins saw their cancer return, compared to 17 per cent of patients not taking the medication.

By eight years, this had risen to 17 per cent of those on statins and 26 per cent of those not taking the drug.

Michael Zelefsky, senior author of the study, commented: "This study, along with other emerging studies, strongly suggests that statin use improves outcomes in patients treated with definitive radiation therapy."

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