Cancer: Tall People at Risk


Cancer will more likely develop in tall people, a new study has found. The risk of some type of cancer increases by as much as 30% for every 4 inches increase in height.

According to a research in Sweden, the risk of cancer rises with height among both genders: men and female. Researchers reported this after analyzing the health of over 5 million adults whose height range from 3ft 3ins to 7ft 4ins.

They discovered that for every 10 cm increase in height, cancer increase by 11% among men and 18 percent among women.

In Sweden where the study was conducted, a typical woman is 5’7”, and her risk of getting breast cancer is 10%. The researchers found that for every 10 cm increase in height, the risk of breast cancer increased by around 20 % if various variables such as smoking and obesity were kept constant.

The highest correlation was for a type of cancer that is known as malignant melanoma. Both women and women are about 30% more likely to get the disease for every 10 cm increase in height.

The researchers did not explain the reasons for the link. However, they gave three hypothesizes. One hypothesis stated that taller people are exposed to more growth factors during their early life. This may promote cancer development.

Another hypothesis is that tall people have many body cells that could potentially transform into cancer cells.  A third explanation is that tall people have a greater caloric intake. Previously, intake of caloric has been linked to cancer.

The lead author of the research, Dr. Emelia Benyi, said: “It should be stressed that the results of the study reflect cancer occurrence on a population level.” He added that it was hard to predict cancer incidences on individual level since it is caused by many factors.

Although a relation between cancer and tall people has been conducted by previous study, the lead author believed it was a major study conducted on linkage between cancer and height.