Blood pressure medications are one of the most prescribed medications in the United States. The causes of high blood pressure are varied. They include genetic, stress-induced, obesity, narrowing arteries, kidney problems, and certain medications such as pain relievers or cold and sinus remedies.
Unfortunately, a lot of high blood pressure also has no known cause. Those with numbers over 120/80 mmHg often find themselves on a treatment for life.
Recent research suggests that those women who are on a particular type of blood pressure medication known as a calcium channel blocker may be at higher risk for developing breast cancer.
More specifically, those women who have been on a calcium channel blocker for 10 years or more have a two and a half times increased risk of developing invasive lobular and invasive ductal carcinoma, based on study results from Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed breast cancer. It starts out in the milk ducts but then breaks through the duct wall and can spread into surrounding tissue, blood vessels and lymph nodes. Once it moves into other parts of the body (metastasizes) it is more advanced.
Invasive lobular carcinoma is not as common and involves cancer cells in the lobules of the breast which are where the milk is produced. However it too can metastasize.
Of course taking calcium channel blockers does not guarantee that a woman is going to develop breast cancer, and many women develop breast cancer who are not on blood pressure medication. More research needs to be completed on this subject. However for those women who are on a calcium channel blocker it is important to talk with your health care provider about your options and risks.
Do what you can to lower your blood pressure naturally by working on stress reduction, minimize salt/sodium in your diet and keep your weight at a healthy level. Focus on dietary changes for both your blood pressure and lowering cancer risk such as eating more colorful vegetables, increasing fiber and eliminating sugar.