According to a new study, which was presented at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress, a higher than normal blood pressure has been found to be 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. The risk appears to be more for cancers of the kidney and colorectum, though it is less compared to the risk of cancer with diabetes and other vascular diseases.
The study was carried out by Dr Van Hemelrijck, a research associate in the Cancer Epidemiology Group at King’s College London (London, UK), and her colleagues. They analyzed the data on blood pressure and cancer incidence and death in a prospective study which included 289,454 men and 288,345 women from Norway, Austria and Sweden. The participants were divided into five groups so that people with the lowest mid-blood pressure were clubbed in the first, and those with the highest mid-blood pressure were in the fifth group. They were followed up for an average of 12 years and a total of 22,184 men and 14,744 women were diagnosed with cancer. 8,724 men and 4,525 women died from the disease. The researchers found that the risk of developing cancer increased by 29% as one moved from the first to the fifth group.
The risk of developing cancers of oral cavity, colon and rectum, lung, bladder, kidney and skin increased with increase of blood pressure in men. In women, a high blood pressure was associated with an increased risk of developing cancers of the liver, pancreas, cervix and endometrium and melanoma. Men in the fifth group were 49 times more likely to die due to cancer compared to men in the first group. Similarly, women in the fifth group were 24 times more likely to die of cancer compared to first group. Although the study does not show high blood pressure to be a cause of cancer but it is definitely a risk factor for developing cancer. More studies are required to find out why men with high blood pressure are more prone to develop cancer compared to women.