Heart - Lip Link?

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Story Updated: Aug 8, 2012

Dozens of prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause photosensitivity...an increase in sensitivity to sunlight.

But now researchers have linked long-term use of two common blood pressure medications to an increased risk of lip cancer.

The study, just published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that the drugs nifedipine and hydrochlorothiazide---sold under a variety of brand names...were both associated with cancer of the epithelial cells...commonly known as squamous cell cancer.

Researchers compared more than 700 lip cancer patients in Northern California to nearly 23-thousand people in a control group. They found that the risk of squamous cell lip cancer was higher for those with long-term use of photosensitizing blood pressure medications.

The researchers feel any increased risk of developing lip cancer is outweighed by the benefits of taking blood pressure medicine as prescribed.

However, they urge doctors to tell their fair skinned patients about the risk of taking their medications and going out into the sun, and to advise the use of sunscreen and wide brimmed hats during any sun exposure. I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV... with news from today that can lead to healthy tomorrows.