Tuesday, October 11, 2011

News Brief: Beta Blockers "May Stop Breast Cancer Spreading"

Ariel Lefland

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2011 there have been about 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women, 57,650 cases of carcinoma in situ will be found and about 39,520 women have died from breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Ninety percent of the deaths from breast cancer are specifically due to the malignant character of the disease, which causes it to spread to other parts of the body Although the statistics show that due to better treatments and earlier detection of tumors more women are surviving breast cancer, cancer experts are looking into a new type of therapy that may cut the risk of breast cancer spreading, hopefully cutting the number of deaths it causes.
Early work on beta blockers found that women taking beta blockers had a seventy-one percent reduced risk for cancer-related death. Studies have highlighted the potential of beta blockers to stop noradrenergic receptors, preventing cells from moving to other parts of the body. The chance for cancer to spread in eight hundred female patients who have used these beat blockers commonly used as blood pressure drugs has already decreased fifty percent. The Cancer Research UK backed study to be reported next year will study a sample of thirty thousand patients. This research, investigators remark, has huge potential to save lives.

Reference: "Beta Blockers 'May Stop Breast Cancer Spreading'." BBC Health News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15117324. Sep 30 2011.

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