Blood Pressure Meds Linked to Raised Breast Cancer Risk

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Women taking calcium channel blockers for years may have a higher risk for breast cancer, new research published Aug. 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine shows.

"This is the first study to observe that long-term current use of calcium-channel blockers in particular are associated with breast cancer risk," wrote the researchers, led by Dr. Christopher I. Li, an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

The medication is in a class of drugs called antihypertensives, which also include alpha-blockers, diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE Inhibitors, Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) and vasodilators.

CCBs (Calcium channel blockers) are a type of medication taken to treat high blood pressure. They work by preventing calcium from entering cells of the heart and blood vessel walls, which in turn widens the vessels and lowers blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

There are short-acting types of the medication that work fast with effects that wear off in a few hours and long-acting, slow-released forms.

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