(HealthDay News) — β-blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors can prevent heart damage in breast cancer patients as they undergo chemotherapy, according to research scheduled to be presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from December 8 to 12 in San Antonio.

“We think this is practice changing. This will improve the safety of the cancer treatment that we provide,” study co-investigator Edith Pituskin, PhD, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Nursing and Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, said in a university news release.

The medications not only protect the heart, but may also improve breast cancer patient survival rates by reducing the number of times chemotherapy needs to be interrupted, according to study leader Ian Paterson, MD, a cardiologist at the Alberta Heart Institute and an associate professor in the department of medicine at the University of Alberta.

“We are aiming for two outcomes for these patients – we’re hoping to prevent heart failure and we’re hoping for them to receive all the chemotherapy that they are meant to get, when they are supposed to get it — to improve their odds of remission and survival,” Paterson said in the news release.

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