Tall People Are at Greater Risk of Developing Cancer, Research Finds


A new study suggests that tall people are more likely to get cancers because they have more number of cells that can undergo risky mutations. Specifically, the study found that cancer risk rises by 10% for every 4 inches people are above average height-5 feet 4 for women and 5 feet 9 for men, reports CNN.

But now Nunney says he has crunched the numbers to show it might be down to a simpler matter of size: tall people simply have more cells for something to go wrong in.

In addition, the study also notes that two types of cancers they tested for-melanoma and thyroid cancer-were found to more vulnerable to the increased risk.

Study leader Leonard Nunney, professor of biology at the University of California Riverside said in a statement, "One of the major hypotheses was that something was happening early in life that was making your cells more susceptible to cancer and, sort of incidentally, causing you to be tall".

"This means that this extra risk is "hard wired" and can not in any obvious way be reduced", lead study author Leonard Nunney of the University of California Riverside told AFP.

The study showed that the average risk of developing cancer for men is 55% higher than that of women.

Previous research also shows a connection between height and an increased risk of developing blood clots, having heart problems and diabetes. The results of his research revealed that women have a 13% increased risk for every additional 10cm in height while men have 11% risk of getting risk.

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The biological and plausible reasons behind this association could be the role of growth hormones that allow for increased height as well as contribute to increase risk of cancer.

"The methodology is good - they took data from large studies, which is important, and they looked at lots of different categories of cancer".

"If 50/500 average height women got cancer then 60/500 tall (178cm) women would be expected to get cancer".

While height is largely determined by an individual's genes, Nunney said that childhood environment also has an effect, and therefore likely impacts associated cancer risks.

It is noted that yesterday it was announced that colorectal cancer incidence increased at an average annual rate of 6% between 2008-2016 among those aged 20-39 in Europe.

Georgina Hill, from Cancer Research UK, said individuals should not be concerned about their stature.

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