There are many risk factors that researchers have identified in the onset of cancer. Smoking was the first big factor to be documented by the medical community. Age, genetic predisposition, alcohol consumption, and exposure to the sun’s radiation soon followed as other probable cancer risk factors.
Over the past decade, chemicals and toxins have been increasingly implicated in the onset of various cancers. Pesticides, manufacturing residues, leaded paint, glues, asbestos, air pollution, and water pollution have been tagged as possible cancer-causing agents.
Recently, the search for cancer risk factors has reached a new level of sophistication. Medical experts talk about substances that trigger free radical damage. This is a kind of trauma that takes place on a cellular level and that can alter a cell’s DNA. Genetic changes to DNA can cause a cell to mutate and multiply. Once the cells become malignant, they are termed cancerous.
Here’s one more risk factor for cancer that you’ve likely never heard of: your height. According to the results from a new study, a woman’s chances of getting cancer after menopause increase in relation to her height.
The research team studied data from over 100,000 women and found that height was a better predictor of cancer risk than some of the more commonly cited factors such as obesity! This remained true no matter what type of cancer was involved.
How specific was the cancer/height connection? The researchers found that for every extra 10 cm in height, a woman’s risk for cancers of the kidney, rectum, thyroid, or blood rose by an average of 25%. This remained true after the researchers adjusted for body mass index (BMI).
Before you get worried about your height, there’s a silver lining. It turns out that height is a modest risk factor for cancer that is neutralized by a corresponding lower risk for heart disease. The researchers say height should not be thought of as a risk factor in and of itself. Rather, being taller means that you should consider taking exposure to known carcinogens more seriously.
The research team thinks a link exists between the incidence of cancer and height because growth factors are involved in both variables. Cancer cells multiply in part because something triggers their growth. As for being tall, a similar link can be made. Height is stimulated by growth factors and hormones.
You can’t do much about changing your height, of course. But you can make sure that you minimize your exposure to other cancer risk factors. Stay away from smoking, stick to one or two drinks per day maximum, and get some exercise. Be aware that some chemicals expose you to a very real risk of developing melanomas.
Continue to get exercise and eat a healthy diet. Clinical studies have proven over and over again that a diet high in fruits and vegetables could help stave off cancerous tumors. If you’re tall, it’s time to make sure your daily meals contain liberal amounts of both of these food groups.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Burgess, K., “The Scary Link Between Height and Cancer Risk,” Prevention News web site; http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/scary-link-between-height-and-cancer-risk, last accessed August 1, 2013.
“Tall women have higher chance of getting cancer, says study,” CBC News web site, July 26, 2013; http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2013/07/26/tall-women-cancer.html, last accessed August 1, 2013.