(NaturalNews) (NaturalNews) The human body doesn't exist in separate, unconnected parts. Simply put, if you take a drug directed at one particular organ or problem, it doesn't mean that medication will only zero in on one symptom or function. It may impact other processes, cells and organs or even the immune system.
A case in point: new research reveals a disturbing connection between widely prescribed ACE inhibitors (commonly used to control high blood pressure and heart failure in women) and breast cancer.
According to a new study by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, ACE inhibitors appear to be linked with an increased risk of recurrence in women who have had breast cancer. Dr. Patricia Ganz, director of cancer prevention and control research at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and first author of the study, used data from the Life After Cancer Epidemiology (LACE) study, which included Kaiser patients diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, as the basis for the research. And while she is calling for additional studies based on larger clinical data bases to further corroborate her team's findings, Dr. Ganz stated the surprising negative effect of the ACE inhibitors on chances for recurrence is, at the very least, cause for caution.
"The message from this is we have to be aware of other chronic health problems and medications that patients take after their diagnosis of breast cancer," said Ganz, an international expert in the fields of quality of life after cancer and cancer survivorship, in a statement to the media. "We are learning that some medications, while they may be very helpful for treating cardiovascular disease and hypertension, may have an adverse effect on breast cancer survivors."
Recently published online in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, the study suggests that ACE inhibitors and a different class of hypertension drugs known as beta blockers may work differently in the breast cancer microenvironment. In fact, a September 2010 Jonsson Cancer Center study concluded that chronic stress works as a "fertilizer" to feed breast cancer progression through inflammatory signaling, significantly spiking the spread of disease in animal models.
Bottom line: inflammation appears to play an important role in breast cancer and different classes of drugs may influence different pathways of inflammation
Working with researchers at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Dr. Ganz investigated whether exposure to drugs known as beta blockers could reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence. There were 1,779 women in the study, and 292 experienced a breast cancer recurrence. Dr. Ganz found that 23 percent of the women in the study had taken either a beta blocker or an ACE inhibitor. The women taking these Big Pharma meds were generally older, post-menopausal and had other health problems, including obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes.
After controlling for these differences in health issues, Dr. Ganz found that women exposed to ACE inhibitors had a significantly increased risk for a recurrence, of breast cancer. However, the woman only taking beta blockers had a lower risk of recurrence. Women taking both beta blockers and ACE inhibitors had a medium risk for recurrence.
"There is an increasing interest in the relationship between host lifestyle factors and the outcomes of cancer treatment," the study states. "Behavioral factors, comorbid conditions and non-cancer-related pharmaceutical exposures may affect breast cancer outcomes."
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Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.