Tall people at greater risk of cancer, study says

Tall people are at a greater risk of cancer because they have more cells in their body, new research has sug...

Posted: Oct 24, 2018 6:36 PM
Updated: Oct 24, 2018 6:36 PM

Tall people are at a greater risk of cancer because they have more cells in their body, new research has suggested.

A person's risk of developing cancer increases by 10% for every 10 centimeters (4 inches) they are over the average height, the study said, because they have more cells which could mutate and lead to cancer.

Cancer

Diseases and disorders

Health and medical

Medical fields and specialties

Oncology

Demographic groups

Females (demographic group)

Population and demographics

Society

Thyroid cancer

Average height was defined in the study as 162cm (5 feet, 4 inches) for women and 175cm (5 feet, 9 inches) for men.

The findings match with previous research, which has also connected height to an increased risk of developing a range of health problems including blood clots, heart problems and diabetes.

Leonard Nunney, a professor of biology at the University of California Riverside, analyzed previous sets of data on people who had contracted cancer -- each of which included more than 10,000 cases for both men and women -- and compared the figures with anticipated rates based on their height.

He tested the hypothesis that this was due to the number of cells against alternatives, such as possible hormonal differences in taller people, which could lead to an increased rate of cell division.

A link was found between a person's total cell number and their likelihood of contracting cancer in 18 of the 23 cancers tested for, the study says.

The research also found that the increase in risk is greater for women, with taller women 12% more likely to contract cancer and taller men 9% more likely to do so. Those findings matched with Nunney's predicted rates, using his models, of 13% for women and 11% for men.

Colon and kidney cancer and lymphoma were among the types of cancer for which the correlation was strongest.

"We've known that there is a link between cancer risk and height for quite a long time -- the taller someone is, the higher the cancer risk," Georgina Hill from Cancer Research UK told CNN.

"What we haven't been sure of is why -- whether this is simply because a taller person has more cells in their body, or whether there's an indirect link, such as something to do with nutrition and childhood," added Hill, who was not involved in the study.

She said the study provides good evidence of the "direct effect" theory that the total number of cells does indeed cause the link.

"The methodology is good - they took data from large studies, which is important, and they looked at lots of different categories of cancer."

But she noted that the increase in risk of developing cancer is small compared to the effects that lifestyle changes can have.

"It was only a slightly higher risk and that there are more important actions that people can take to make positive changes, [such as] stopping smoking and maintaining a healthy weight," she said.

Two of the types of cancer tested for, thyroid cancer and melanoma, were found to be more susceptible to an increase in risk than expected, and Nunney suggested in the study that other factors could be at play in those cases, such as geography.

"There are no obvious reasons for these exceptions, although the author speculates that cell turnover rates may come into play for melanoma," Dorothy C. Bennett, director of the Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute in London told CNN. Bennett, who was not involved in the study, explained that pigment cells, the source of melanoma, divide and are replaced a little faster in taller people.

"But I cannot at present think of any reason why this [faster division] should be so, but nor any other clear reason for the higher correlation with height," Bennett said.

West Lafayette
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 72°
Kokomo
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 67°
Rensselaer
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 68°
Fowler
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 68°
Williamsport
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 68°
Crawfordsville
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 66°
Frankfort
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 65°
Delphi
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 69°
Monticello
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 69°
Logansport
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 70°
Hotter & turning much more humid for the weekend.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 71015

Reported Deaths: 3013
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15322723
Lake7343274
Elkhart471380
Allen3725160
St. Joseph330179
Hamilton2610104
Vanderburgh184213
Hendricks1814106
Cass17669
Johnson1694118
Porter123839
Clark114846
Tippecanoe114611
Madison89565
LaPorte86930
Howard85565
Kosciusko82712
Marshall75822
Bartholomew75447
Floyd74045
Monroe70830
Delaware68052
Dubois65812
Boone65346
Noble64529
Hancock63838
Jackson5625
LaGrange55410
Warrick55330
Vigo54310
Shelby53527
Grant52029
Dearborn47928
Morgan45134
Clinton4043
Henry36919
White35110
Montgomery34621
Wayne34610
Lawrence33727
Decatur32432
Harrison30923
Putnam2778
Miami2642
Daviess25920
Scott25710
Greene24134
Franklin23413
DeKalb2234
Jasper2192
Jennings21512
Gibson2084
Steuben2043
Ripley1947
Perry17912
Fayette1777
Starke1747
Orange16624
Posey1650
Wabash1613
Fulton1592
Carroll1572
Wells1542
Jefferson1532
Whitley1476
Knox1420
Tipton1296
Huntington1213
Washington1211
Spencer1193
Newton11410
Randolph1144
Clay1045
Sullivan911
Adams892
Jay840
Owen831
Pulaski751
Brown711
Rush714
Fountain642
Benton600
Blackford592
Ohio574
Pike520
Parke501
Vermillion480
Crawford440
Switzerland440
Martin420
Union350
Warren201
Unassigned0202

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events