Are You at a Heightened Risk for Cancer?

New research published in Proceedings for the Royal Society B suggests that taller people have an increased risk of cancer because they have more cells in the body that could mutate and lead to cancer. The risk of cancer increases by 10% for every 4 inches a person is over the average height, defined as 5 feet, 4 inches for women and 5 feet, 9 inches for men. 

The researchers used data from previous large cohort studies including more 10,000 men and women to compare the overall risk of developing cancer of any type with increasing height. 

They found that there was a 13% increased risk for women for every additional 10 cm in height compared with 12% from observations, and an 11% predicted increase in men for every 10 cm taller compared with 9% seen in real life.  

This risk was associated with 18 of 23 cancers considered; the correlation was highest with kidney cancer, colon cancer, and lymphoma. For women, the greatest increase in risk was for cancers of the thyroid, skin, lymphoma, colon, ovary, breast, and womb. For men, it was for cancers of the thyroid, skin, lymphoma, colon, kidney, biliary tract, and central nervous system. A taller stature did not increase the risk of oesophageal, stomach, mouth, or cervical cancer in women, and did not increase stomach cancer risk in men. 

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Sources: CNNProceedings for the Royal Society B