New study examines the link between blood pressure pills and breast cancer

May 24, 2022
The study looks into whether common blood pressure pills are linked with breast cancer. Source: Getty

For the first time ever, a study will investigate whether older Australian women who take blood pressure pills are putting themselves at greater risk for developing breast cancer.

The research led by Curtin University’s Professor Rachel Moorin, from the Curtin School of Population Health, will examine over 200,000 women to investigate the link between the long-term use of common blood pressure pills and breast cancer.

The topic of whether calcium channel blockers lead to breast cancer has been a hotly debated topic across the globe, with mixed results.

“An American study found 58 per cent of women with early-stage breast cancer were prescribed a blood pressure-reducing medication and this link has achieved mixed results from research relating to North American, United Kingdom, Nordic and Taiwanese women,” Professor Moorin said.

“The use of calcium channel blockers may increase the risk of cancer because of their role in changing intracellular calcium levels and breast tissue may be particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of changing intracellular calcium due to its secretary role.”

While the research is expected to take three years to complete, Professor Moorin and her team will be using state-of-the-art analytical techniques that have never been used in breast cancer research before, allowing them to offer potentially significant results for Australian women.

“With an estimated 48 women diagnosed each day, breast cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2019 and the most common in women, with one in seven Australian women diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 85,” Professor Moorin said.

Professor Moorin added that since 2013, breast cancer cases have increased in Australia by 19 per cent, with over 19,500 in 2019.

“Breast cancer is second only to lung cancer as the most common cause of death from cancer in Australian women.

“Many women will also have cardiovascular disease such as hypertension or high blood pressure, which occurs in about 30 per cent of women aged 45-54 rising to about 45 per cent in those aged 75 and over.”

 

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This new investigation isn’t the only advancement in breast cancer research.

Back in 2019, Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) developed an artificial intelligence system that could help health professionals and pathologists read biopsies more accurately and allow them to better identify breast cancer.

Researchers said the artificial intelligence could provide more accurate readings consistently because it draws from a large data set and can recognise patterns in the samples that are associated with cancer, but aren’t always easy for humans to spot.

Screenings are encouraged every two years, but checking the breasts between visits is important and any lumps, bumps or changes need to be addressed with a GP as soon as possible.

Catching cancer early means treatment is more likely to be effective and less invasive but also reduces the risk of cancer spreading to other parts of the body.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

Have you gotten a mammogram recently?

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