Being tall can increase cancer risk

Why tall people are at greater risk of cancer

Why tall people are at greater risk of cancer

However, the risk of the majority of the 23 cancers studied in this round of research can be explained simply by the fact that there are more cells in the body of a taller person when compared to someone of shorter stature.

Previous research also showed a connection between height and an increased risk of developing blood clots, having heart problems and diabetes. Among dogs too, the bigger and taller breeds are more at risk of cancers than the smaller ones. 'This study suggests it's because taller people are made of more cells, so there's more potential for one of them to go wrong and become cancerous.

For each 10cm increase in human height over the average utilized in the study of 5ft 7in for men and 5ft 3in for ladies, there is a 10 percent higher risk of that individual getting cancer.

The study was conducted at the University of California Riverside.

Overall, an increased risk with height was seen for 18 out of 23 cancers considered.

Professor Dorothy Bennett, director of the Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute at St George's, University of London, welcomed the research, although she said Nunney's calculations involved a number of assumptions, including that cancer risk increases in direct proportion to adult height. And the risk of thyroid cancer with every extra 10 cm increased by 40% in women and nearly 20% in men.

Nunney said a slight boost in the rate of cell division, as a result of higher levels of IGF-1, might have a stronger effect on these cells than it does in other tissues, possibly because melanoma might need a larger set of mutations to develop than other cancers. This could thus increase the cancer risk he explained.

Average height was defined in the study as 162cm (5 feet, 4 inches) for women and 175cm (5 feet, 9 inches) for men.

Each of the study chosen had to include 10,000 cancer cases for each sex.

One kind of cancer that did not show any risk related with height was cervical cancers which has been linked with HPV diseases.

Obviously, being tall doesn't mean you're doomed to cancer, and the change in cancer risk based on height is relatively small, but doctors urge people of all sizes to mitigate their individual risk by following well-worn advice like dropping cigarettes and eating healthy. "A number of studies over the years have shown that taller people seem to have a slightly higher risk of cancer", she said.

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