Study finds taller women at greater risk for cancer

July 21, 2011 4:39:18 PM PDT
Tall women were at higher risk of several types of cancer, say researchers. British researchers studied a million women and found that for every 4-inch increase in height, there was a 16-percent increase in cancer risk. Out of 17 different cancers studied, height was a factor in ten.

For example, tall women have a 25-percent increased risk of colon cancer and a 17-percent increased risk of breast cancer.

Why? One expert believes it's because tall people have higher levels of growth hormones as children and as adults. And these hormones may modestly increase cancer risk.

Experts say the findings should not spur panic among people who are statuesque. Their advice for lowering cancer risk is the same for both tall and short people. Stop smoking, drop the extra pounds and get those regular cancer screening tests.

Other cancers related to height are, according to the researchers, are melanoma, ovarian and kidney cancer, and leukemia.

The average height of women in the U.S. is 5-foot-3, which is actually taller than last decade. But there's a little good news here, too. Researchers remind us that being tall has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and other conditions.

Load Comments