Blood Pressure and Lip Cancer – The Odd Tie

blood pressure and lip cancerLip cancer is the most common in the family of oral cancers. Tobacco, alcohol and over-exposure to sunlight are considered the main contributing factors, but now new research suggests blood pressure drugs could increase the risk of getting the disease.

The research conducted through the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Northern California is considered preliminary but has been published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. It indicates that commonly used blood pressure drugs increase the risk of lip cancer by two to four times. The study involved over 23-thousand participants and included an examination of pharmacy data, as well as cancer registry information to compare the relationship between blood pressure medications and lip cancer. The study also looked at the duration of taking blood pressure drugs. It turns out that with certain blood pressure medications the risk increases as the duration of drug use increases. It came as no surprise to researchers that smokers who participated in the study were more likely to get lip cancer than non-smokers.

What This Means for Cardiac Care


The beta blocker atenolol was tested and didn’t appear to increase the risk of lip cancer. This drug doesn’t increase susceptibility to sun damage, while many other blood pressure drugs do.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one in 3 American adults has a blood pressure problem. Our vascular system is connected to a number of health related issues that are costing lives. Vascular ailments can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and congestive heart failure.  If you want to avoid these pitfalls and live longer there are simple steps you can take:

•              Eat a healthy diet

•              Maintain a healthy weight

•              Avoid alcohol

•              Avoid smoking

•              Commit to exercising


If you are taking blood pressure medication, there is no need to worry about these latest findings. Some physicians say the study may not truly reflect a cause and effect between medications and lip cancer.  They also believe that if you take the proper precautions when you are in the sun, such as wearing a hat, sitting under an umbrella, and using lip sunscreen you will be further reducing your risk.

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Lip cancer is more prevalent among white men over the age of 50. Studies indicate that many are likely to develop this form of the cancer due occupation-related sun exposure, combined with greater use of both alcohol and tobacco. The bottom lip is about 12 times more likely to be affected. If you were to get lip cancer, researchers from Northern California say it is treatable and rarely spreads.
Oncologists say people who work outside, as well as beachgoers lather up with sun protection on other parts of their bodies, but tend to forget to protect their lips. They say it’s all about awareness; getting the message out that lips are susceptible to sun damage too.


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