Swedish Study Reveals Correlation Between Height and Cancer Risk

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Marji_021015Taller people are at a higher risk of developing cancer, according to a new study presented at the 54th Annual European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology Meeting in Barcelona, Spain.

For the study, research teams from the Karolinska Institutet and the University of Stockholm in Sweden followed a total of 5.5 million Swedish men and women between 1958 and 2011, or people who were aged 20 or over until 2011.

Participants were born between 1938 and 1991 and their adult heights ranged from 100 centimeters (cm) to 225 cm. The team discovered that for each additional 10 cm of height, the cancer risk increased by 18% in women and 11% in men.

The team also found that taller women had a 20% greater risk of developing breast cancer. The risk of developing melanoma increased by about 30% per 10 cm of height for both females and males.

Previous studies have reported the same association between both height and cancer—taller people have a higher risk of developing several types of cancer, including breast cancer and melanoma.

Dr. Emelie Benyi, the study’s lead researcher, concludes, “It should be emphasized that our results reflect cancer incidence on a population level. As the cause of cancer is multifactorial, it is difficult to predict what impact our results have on cancer risk at the individual level.”

The research team hopes to further look into how cancer mortality as well as other causes of death are associated with height within the Swedish population.

 Sources for Today’s Article:
Green, J., et al., “Height and cancer incidence in the million women study: prospective cohort, and meta-analysis of prospective studies of height and total cancer risk,” The Lancet Oncology 2015, doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(11)70154-1.
Brazier, Y., “Taller people face a greater risk of cancer,” Medical News Today web site, October 2, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/300313.php.


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