Tall people at greater risk of cancer, study says


A new research has found that taller people have a greater risk of developing cancer because they are bigger in size and have more cells which can get a unsafe mutation.

This could be due to an increase in growth hormones that can cause an increase in cell division rates, leading to the kinds of larger mutations seen in skin cancers. These mutations continue for life.

The study showed that the average risk of developing cancer for men is 55% higher than that of women. The model developed took into account the number of cells of the body. Even a light smoker (about three per day) has a huge six times increase in lung cancer risk ie: 50/500 becomes 300/500'.

Researchers in the U.S. examined populations across three continents and found that the risk of contracting cancer for both men and women increased 10% for every 10cm in height.

Importantly, the differences in cancer rates between men and women specifically do show that there are other factors at play other than height, especially in the case of diseases like cervical cancer.

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While height is largely determined by an individual's genes, Nunney said that childhood environment also has an effect, and therefore likely impacts associated cancer risks. The research suggests that the hormone that stimulates growth, called IGF-1, has an effect on triggering cancer.

For the study, the team compiled data from four large-scale studies on 23 cancer types in the UK, US, South Korea, Austria, Norway and Sweden. IGF-1 can increase rates of cell division.

Obviously, being tall doesn't mean you're doomed to cancer, and the change in cancer risk based on height is relatively small, but doctors urge people of all sizes to mitigate their individual risk by following well-worn advice like dropping cigarettes and eating healthy. The findings of the report have been disclosed by the Royal Society, which showed that for each 10cm of increased height among women, there was a 13 percent increase in cancer risk.

Nunney explained that the number of cells is important adding, "Whether that comes from a better diet or the fact that your parents happen to be tall doesn't matter ... it is purely a number of cells, however that comes about".

The researchers reviewed 23 cancer types and reported that the higher man, the higher her chance of developing cancer.