WASHINGTON: Taller women may face a higher risk of many cancers than their shorter counterparts, according to a US study.
Researchers looked at a sample of nearly 145,000 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 for the analysis published in the US journal Cancer Epidemiology.
They found that each additional 10 centimetres of height was linked to a 13 per cent higher risk of getting cancer.
The height association remained even after scientists adjusted for factors that might influence these cancers, such as age, weight, education, smoking habits, alcohol consumption and hormone therapy.
“We were surprised at the number of cancer sites that were positively associated with height. In this data set, more cancers are associated with height than were associated with body mass index (BMI),” added Kabat.
Some cancers saw an even higher risk among taller women, such as a 23 to 29 per cent increase in the risk of developing cancers of the kidney, rectum, thyroid, and blood for each additional 10 centimetres of height.
None of the 19 cancers studied showed a lower risk with greater height.
The study did not establish a certain height level at which cancer risk begins to rise, and Kabat said it is important to remember that the increased risk researchers found was small. (AFP)
“Ultimately, cancer is a result of processes having to do with growth, so it makes sense that hormones or other growth factors that influence height may also influence cancer risk,” said lead author Geoffrey Kabat, senior epidemiologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York.
After 12 years of following women who entered the study without cancer, researchers found links between greater height and higher likelihood of developing cancers of the breast, colon, endometrium, kidney, ovary, rectum, thyroid, as well as multiple myeloma and melanoma.