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The link: Could these cholesterol-lowering drugs raise the risk of cancer? A 2007 study inspired this belief when researchers investigating the side effects of certain statins—lovastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin, fluvastatin, and atorvastatin—found that participants taking high doses were more likely to be diagnosed with various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, and prostate.
The reality: A 2008 review of 15 clinical trials involving statins cast doubt on the initial results; low LDL cholesterol levels, the reviewers found, were associated with cancer, whether or not participants were taking statins, suggesting that cholesterol levels, not the drugs, were to blame. "This study should reassure those taking statins that they are not increasing their risk of cancer by trying to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease," senior author Richard Karas of Boston's Tufts University School of Medicine said in a statement. A separate review of research involving roughly 170,000 participants found no link between statins and cancer.