Tall people more likely to get cancers, finds study

Grant Boone
October 27, 2018

For every 10cm increase in human height above the average used in the study of 5ft 7in for men and 5ft 3in for women, there is a 10 per cent greater risk of that person getting cancer, the BBC reported, adding that a person's risk factor depended on their exact height. "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".

American researchers from the University of California at riverside found that tall people have greater risk of cancer than people of other growth. The surprisingly simple reason? As tall people have more number of cells, the number of cell divisions among them is also more.

United States researchers have established that a person's risk of getting cancer increases by about 10 per cent for every 10 cms of height. She notes, "The methodology is good-they took data from larger studies, which is important, and they looked at lots of different categories of cancer".

Scientists are repelled from the average height of men is 175 cm and average height women 162 cm.

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Cancer develops when the body's normal controls on cell growth stop working, leading to the runaway creation of abnormal cells that manifests as tumours.

"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". It was calculated that for every ten centimeters higher, the risk of cancer due to most cancer divisions, and therefore the most likely mutations, is increased by 11% for men and by 13% for women (percentages as derived from patient statistics ).

Each of the study chosen had to include 10,000 cancer cases for each sex. For women, the greatest increase in risk was for cancers of the thyroid, skin, lymphoma, colon, ovary, breast and womb.

Nunney says some cancers may have shown no link because the effect of height was masked by other drivers such as HPV infection for cervical cancer. It found a particularly strong association between height and melanoma, or skin cancer - with the risk increasing by almost 30 per cent per 10 cms of height in women and about 25 per cent in men. "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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