Blood pressure pills may slightly increase your risk of getting cancer, according to recent study findings published in the journal Lancet Oncology and reported by the Associated Press.

For the study, researchers tracked about 60,000 people taking drugs called angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) for high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetic kidney disease.

Scientists found that patients taking the drugs had an increased risk of almost 1 percent of developing a number of different cancers (for example, prostate, breast and lung) compared with people not on the drugs.

Researchers are unsure why this happens. However, animal studies suggested the medications helped the body produce new blood vessels, which speed up tumor growth.

But patients should not go cold turkey and avoid taking their meds. Individual patients faced only a modest risk, said Ilke Sipahi, MD, a cardiologist, and the study’s lead author.

Heart patients in particular, Sipahi said, should stay on their ARBs since they’d be more likely to die of heart failure than a related cancer.

The bottom line is that scientists don’t have enough information to know if the heightened cancer risk vanishes once patients go off the drugs, Sipahi said.

And since cancer can take decades to develop, it’s impossible to know if a new drug can cause cancer in the future, said an American Cancer Society representative.

If patients are concerned, Sipahi added, they should speak with their doctors.

Read this to find out how city air affects blood pressure levels.