Tall People at Higher Risk of Cancer

Tall People at Higher Risk of CancerTall People at Higher Risk of Cancer

Swedish researchers say for every extra 10 cm of height, a woman’s risk of developing cancer rises by 18% and a man’s by 11%.

The taller you are, the more likely you are to develop cancer, according to researchers in Sweden.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm analyzed data on 5.5 million Swedish men and women with heights ranging between 100 cm  (3.3ft) and 225 cm (7.4ft).

They found that the risk of women developing cancer of any kind rose by 18% for every extra 10 cm of height, while for men it rose by 11%.

Taller women had a 20% greater risk of breast cancer than short women, while the chances of having melanoma skin cancer increased by around 30% per 10 cm of height in both sexes, researchers said.

Lead researcher Dr Emelie Benyi said: “It should be emphasized that our results reflect cancer incidence on a population level.”

“As the cause of cancer is multifactorial, it is difficult to predict what impact our results have on cancer risk at the individual level.”

The findings were presented at the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology meeting in Barcelona, Spain.

Benyi’s team collected information from birth, passport and medical records and investigated cancer rates from 1958 to the age of 20, or the end of 2011.

Scientists now plan to examine possible links between death rates and height within the Swedish population.

“Our studies show that taller individuals are more likely to develop cancer but it is unclear so far if they also have a higher risk of dying from cancer or have an increased mortality overall,” said Benyi.

Prof. Jack Cuzick, director of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and head of the Center for Cancer Prevention at Queen Mary, University of London, said: “The association between height and cancer has been known for some time; many cancers are increased in incidence in tall people.”

“The mechanisms for this effect are not clear and are worth further study. They may relate to the fact that growth hormones related to height also are in some way stimulating cancer cells, but details are lacking.”