Public release date: 26-Sep-2011
Contact: Emma Mason
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
High blood pressure is linked to increased risk of developing or dying from cancer
Stockholm, Sweden: Raised blood pressure is linked to a higher risk of developing cancer or dying from the disease according to the findings of the largest study to date to investigate the association between the two conditions.
Dr Mieke Van Hemelrijck will tell the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress  in Stockholm today (Tuesday) that there had been contradictory results from previous, smaller studies investigating the link between cancer and blood pressure. However, her study, which included 289,454 men and 288,345 women, showed that higher than normal blood pressure was statistically significantly associated with a 10-20% higher risk of developing cancer in men, and a higher risk of dying from the disease in both men and women.
Dr Van Hemelrijck warned that, as the study was observational, it could not show that blood pressure was the cause of the increased cancer risk. "We cannot claim that there is a causal link between high blood pressure and cancer risk, nor can we say that the cause of cancer is a factor related with high blood pressure," she said. "However a healthy lifestyle, including sufficient physical activity and a normal weight, has been shown to reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. For instance, high blood pressure is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and our study now indicates that high blood pressure may also be a risk factor for cancer."