You Can Get This Type Of Cancer Because Of Your Height

A recent study has revealed that the risk of developing cancer increases by about 18% for every extra 10cm taller a woman is, above a minimum  of one metre. On the other hand, the risk increases by 11% for men for every extra 10cm taller. 

When it comes to height, the risk of developing breast cancer increases by 20% for taller women while the risk of developing melanoma increases by approximately 30% per 10cm of height in both men and women. 

One study in 2011 by researchers at the University of Oxford linked increased height in women with a higher risk of 10 different cancers

The research was carried by Dr Emelie Benyi and her team at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The study which was based on  the records of 5.5 million Swedish people born between 1938 and 1991 is yet to be published.

But why should such a correlation exist?

No-one is certain, but there are a number of theories. One is the idea that it might be linked to human growth hormone.

But Prof Dorothy Bennett, head of the Molecular Sciences Research Centre at St Georges, University of London, says the explanation could be very simple - tall people have more cells.

"The bigger you get, the more cells you have," she says.

"A cancer develops from one single cell, so it's very plausible that the risk of getting a particular kind of cancer depends on the number of cells of that particular type that you've got."

But Tim Cole, a professor of medical statistics at University College London, says there's no need for tall people to worry - especially as increased height normally means you're less likely to get other conditions, such as heart disease.

"Being taller suggests you've had a better experience, a more healthy experience in childhood," he says.

"The general rule is, the healthier you are in childhood, the more likely you are to be healthy later in life. There is a relationship with height - that you can [also] see with heart disease - which is related to inequality and social class."

So it's not all bad news.

And anyway, as Cole says, there is nothing you can do about your height, so "worry is not the right response".

So there you have it.

I remain your favorite health blogger, Paul Samuel FitnessDoctor

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