High Cholesterol Increases Breast Cancer Risk
Cholesterol is a lipid manufactured most in the liver, part of the cell membrane and flowing in our blood, involved in multiple processes of our organism, such as the manufacture of some hormones, the digestion of fats or the formation of bile acids. There are two types of cholesterol, the good cholesterol, preventing atherosclerosis by being able to extract cholesterol from artery walls and remove it through the liver, and the bad, which is associated, in high concentrations, with cardiovascular disease.
When found in the body in higher amounts than the body needs, what is commonly known as having high cholesterol, cholesterol begins to stick to artery walls and becomes dangerous for health as it can lead to the development of cardiovascular problems.
High cholesterol is associated with heart disease, but a British study of more than 4,000 women published by the National Cancer Institute indicates that it can also induce the development of malignant tumors in the breasts.
Cholesterol in the blood is associated with the major mechanisms of cancer, among them, the increased cell proliferation and the programmed cell death called apoptosis. When apoptosis does not work, the cells can multiply in an uncontrolled manner and may give rise to cancer. High cholesterol also induces the proliferation of blood vessels that carry oxygen to tumor cells and act as nutrients.
“Cholesterol may modify cancer biology, leading to tumors to grow faster and be potentially more deadly,” explains the Brazilian oncologist Fernando Maluf.
What was proven is that being overweight and obese increases the risk of cancer, but they had not stopped to analyze the influence of cholesterol. Excess weight raises the production of hormones associated with the onset of various cancers. In breast tumors, in particular, the accumulation of body fat increases the production of the estrogen hormone, which is a fuel for cancer cells.
This new discovery should change clinical practice. Now doctors should also check cholesterol and triglycerides (lipid profile). High cholesterol levels tend to increase with age. It usually has no symptoms, but may be known by having a blood test. The best way to lower cholesterol levels is by exercising and following a heart-healthy diet plan.