Much of the research on breast cancer risk looks at the relationship between diet and lifestyle factors and risk. Smoking, weight, how much fat you eat, and how much you exercise are examples. Very few studies look at the link between medications and breast cancer risk.
All medicines can have unwanted side effects and risks. Fortunately, serious or life-threatening side effects aren't common. High blood pressure medications are given to millions of women around the world. Controlling high blood pressure is very important for good cardiovascular health. Still, with so many women on high blood pressure medicine it makes sense to ask whether the medicine affects breast cancer risk.
Researchers found no difference in breast cancer risk between women who took blood pressure medicine and women who didn't take the medicine. These results are reliable because this was a large study — more than 9,000 women were followed an average of 27 years.
The researchers did find a link between untreated high blood pressure and breast cancer risk. Women with higher than normal diastolic blood pressure (the lower of the two blood pressure numbers) who weren't taking medicine to control it had a higher risk of breast cancer. The researchers didn't say why this result happened. It's possible that some of the same genetic factors or medical conditions that increase breast cancer risk are also related to high blood pressure.
Regular blood pressure checks should be a part of every woman's health care. If you or your doctor finds that your blood pressure is higher than normal, talk about the options available for managing blood pressure. If you've been prescribed a blood pressure medicine, be sure to take it as prescribed. These are basic but important steps for cardiovascular health and an overall healthier YOU.
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