May 22, 2020 by John Fernandez
Study: Sitting Too Much Elevates Women’s Cancer Risk; New Cholesterol-Lowering Guidelines ‘Reasonable,’ Researchers Say
Is your chair a health risk? Too much time sitting is linked to a higher risk of specific types of cancer, especially for women, according to a new American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study. The research was published in the latest edition of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, an online medical journal.
The study tracked about 69,000 men and 77,500 women — all cancer-free. For men, sitting for extended periods did not lead to a spike in specific types of cancer. But the data pointed to a different trend for women.
“Longer leisure-time spent sitting was associated with a higher risk of total cancer risk in women, and specifically with multiple myeloma, breast and ovarian cancers, but sitting time was not associated with cancer risk in men.”
More research is needed to explain the difference in sitting time and genders, the study authors said. But the results stress the importance of exercise and mobility.
“For women, these findings support American Cancer Society guidelines for cancer prevention to reduce sitting time when possible,” according to the researchers.
New Cholesterol-Lowering Guidelines ‘Reasonable,” Studies Find
Two newly published studies tend to support controversial new guidelines for treating heart disease, concluding that the broader use of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins is “reasonable and cost-effective.”
The new research, published in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association), reviews the 2013 recommendation that people ages 40 to 75 with at least a 7.5 percent risk of having a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years receive statin drugs.
Under the new guidelines by American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology, the formula for evaluating who needs to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, also referred to as statins, is broader. The intended end result: more people in need of statins will get them. But critics say they may lead to too many people taking statins who don’t need them.
Of the two new studies, one suggests that the new guidelines are better at identifying who is truly at risk of a heart attack and require statins. The other study indicates that treating people based on the new guidelines would be cost-effective, even a greatly increased use of statins.
However, the new studies are not large enough to settle the debate of whether to expand drug treatment to millions more people in hopes of preventing heart disease. But they could help ease criticism of the new guidelines, bolstering claims that broader use of statins will help more people at higher risk for heart disease and stroke.
“There is no longer any question as to whether to offer treatment with statins for patients for primary prevention, and there should now be fewer questions about how to treat and in whom,” said an editorial that accompanied the publication of the studies in JAMA, a journal of the American Medical Association. The editorial was written by Dr. Philip Greenland of Northwestern University, who is also a senior editor of JAMA, and Dr. Michael S. Lauer of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Due to the new guidelines, 33 million Americans — 44 percent of men and 22 percent of women — would meet the threshold for taking statins. Under the old guidelines, statins were only recommended for about 15 percent of adults.
The non-controversial aspect of the new guidelines include treating obesity as a disease and providing other resources to treat risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.