Tall people at higher risk of cancer due to number of cells

27 October, 2018, 18:16 | Author: Kara Nash
  • Why tall people are at greater risk of cancer

"What we haven't been sure of is why-whether this is simply because a taller person has more cells in their body, or whether there's an indirect link, such as something to do with nutrition and childhood".

Study leader, researcher, University of California Riverside said that he tested his own hypothesis that growth increases the number of cells, and the increase in the number of cells directly increases the risk of cancer. The surprisingly simple reason?

While height is a factor in cancer, previous studies have shown taller people have less chance of having a stroke or getting diabetes or heart disease.

Researchers in the U.S. examined populations across three continents and found that the risk of contracting cancer for both men and women increased 10 per cent for every 10 centimetres in height. They assessed the risk of 23 cancers.

The results reveal that his predictions are in tune with the real-life observations, giving a 13 per cent increased risk for women for every additional 10cm in height compared with 12 per cent from observations, and an 11 per cent predicted increase in men for every 10cm taller compared with 9 per cent seen in real life. However, he mentioned that the calculations involved a number of assumptions including that cancer risk increases in direct proportion to height of an adult human being.


Average height varies among regions but in the United States, men are on average 176cm (five feet nine inches) tall, and women 162cm (five feet four inches).

There have been studies earlier that have linked stature with cancers.

"But the increased risk is small and there's plenty you can do to reduce the risk of developing cancer, such as not smoking and keeping a healthy weight".

Two of the types of cancer tested for, thyroid cancer and melanoma, were found to be more susceptible to an increase in risk than expected, and Nunney suggested in the study that other factors could be at play in those cases, such as geography. That's because melanoma needs large mutations to spread than other forms of cancers.

Of 18 cancer types analysed in both men and women, four - pancreas, oesophagus, stomach and mouth/pharynx - showed no apparent increase with height. "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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