An interesting association has been made by Swedish researchers, that the taller you are, the more you stand at risk for cancer, after conducting a large study of both men and women participants.
- A number of 5.5 million people were studied through birth records between 1938-1991
- For every 4 inches above 3.2 feet in height, women had an 18% increased risk, and men an 10% increased risk
- Melanoma risk also lifted by 30% for both genders
- Taller women were at 20% heightened risk for developing breast cancer than shorter women
According to the researchers at the Karolinska Institute in the University of Stockholm, they have found links between a person’s height and their chance of having cancer during their life. They looked at records for around 5.5 million people, born between 1938 and 1991. They studied their health throughout their lives and found a connection between the two seemingly unrelated factors.
For every 4 inches over 3.2 feet in height, women have an increased risk of developing cancer of 18% in women, and 10% in men. That has been given an example that if a woman was 5’6” feet, she had around a third more likely chances to have cancer than a woman who was 4’9” feet. Their study supports others conducted in the past, but they cannot definitively say it will be the same for all countries.
It was not clear if the same risk would stand for men and woman adjusted to other climate, diets and genetic backgrounds. According to Dr. Emelie Benyi, has stated that while taller individuals have a heightened risk for cancer, it does not mean that they will also have a bigger rate of mortality.
Due to the fact that “the cause of cancer is multifactorial”, it’s impossible to predict what will happen to each person in part. For example, the study didn’t cover statistics about remissions or duration of life after diagnosis.
It has also uncovered that for 4 inches, both men and women had a 30% likelier risk of developing melanoma, the most common type of skin cancer. Breast cancer risk was also increased in taller woman by 20% when compared with those of shorter height.
The average for the Swedish population is of 10% of getting breast cancer during their lifetime. Which means that if a woman is 5’11”, she has a bit of an increased chance, at 12% of developing the highly dreaded condition. The blame could fall on growth hormones during their adolescence.
While height was not linked as a direct cause of cancer, it could be one of the factors taken into consideration. According to Dr. Benyi, growth hormones stimulate cell growth as well as stopping cell death. It has been suggested that with more cells in their bodies, taller people have a natural increased risk of developing cancer.
Since the condition starts from a single mutated cell, bigger bodies mean more cells, and more cells lead to more chances of cancer, according to Dorothy Bennet from the University of London.
Researchers also point out that being tall does not mean that you will develop cancer. It’s only one of the many factors that increases the risk.
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