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Is there a link between blood pressure medication and a higher risk of breast cancer?

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Posted: Monday, August 5, 2013 5:32 pm | Updated: 12:54 am, Thu Aug 22, 2013.

If you have high blood pressure your doctor may prescribe certain medications.  Chances are that you may have heard of ACE inhibitors a class of medication that millions of adult Americans take to control their blood pressure. But, what do you do if a study finds that taking these drugs may increase your risk of certain cancers?

There are benefits to these meds but, they are not without side effects and now research finds there may be a link to higher breast cancer risk.

Oncologist Dr. Steve Mamus of Cancer Center of Sarasota-Manatee said, "Millions of people take the drug, its a very commonly prescribed medication for increased blood pressure." He adds, "But, the potential link between the ACE inhibitors and a breast cancer link is really unclear. If you look at the information it goes back at least five years and there's very strong data on both sides of the argument."

The information regarding the potential link is not new, and there are studies that contradict these findings.

"There are some very large cardiovascular studies that have been done that have shown a decreased association of breast cancer and lung cancer in patients who are taking the medication." Said Dr. Mamus.

Part of the reason studies may have conflicting information is because in many cases the patient may be taking additional medications. "They may be taking a Beta Blocker which lowers blood pressure, Beta Blockers have been shown to decrease risk of breast cancer, if they're taking a statin drug, there's a lot of data suggests that statin drugs for cholesterol decrease the risk of breast cancer.

Certain studies find NSAIDS may also decrease the risk of certain malignancies. But that, said Dr.Mamus again depends on the study.

He cites a position statement issued this April by the American Association for Cancer Research.  "They looked at a hundred and fifty five cancer studies cancer studies done in this country and in these cancer studies only twenty nine percent of the time a tobacco history was taken."

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