Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctor: Calcium-channel blockers and cancer risk

Photo: Thinkstock

There's no proof that CCBs cause
cancer.

Q. I'm a cancer survivor and take a calcium-channel blocker for high blood pressure. I recently read that these medications can cause cancer. But it's the only drug that's worked well for me. Should I stop taking it?

A. No. It's true that a large study found that women who took calcium-channel blockers (CCBs) for 10 years or longer had more than double the odds of having certain forms of breast cancer, including the most common type, invasive ductal breast cancer. Common examples of CCBs include amlodipine (Norvasc), felodipine (Plendil), nifedipine (Adalat), and diltiazem (Cardizem). But the findings don't prove the medication caused the cancers.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »