Can a Woman’s Height Affect Her Cancer Risk?

logo1267406_mdA new study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers,& Prevention concluded that the taller a postmenopausal woman is, the greater her risk for developing cancer. In this study of over 20,900 postmenopausal women the association of height was linked to breast, colon, endometrium, kidney, ovary, rectum, thyroid, multiple myeloma, and melanoma and the associations did not change when adjusting for factors known to influence these cancers. . The researchers said “We were suprised at the number of cancer sites than were positively associated with height. In this data set, more cancers are associated with height than were associated with body mass iindex (BMI).” They further said “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.”

Postmenopausal women in the study were between ages 50 and 79  and data was collected between 1993 and 1998. When entering the larger study of over 144,700 women they answered questions about physical activity and their height and weight were measured. Over the next 12 years the 20,900 sample was selected because all were diuagnosed with one or more invasive cancers, In order to study the effdect of height researchers collected data on a variety of factors that may account for cancer icluding age, weight, education, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, and hormone therapy.

Findings showed that for every 3.94 inches increase in height there was a 13% increase in risk of developing any cancer. Among specific cancer4s there was a 13 percent to 17 percent increase in getting melanoma and cancer of the breast, ovary, endometrium, and colon. There was a 23 to 29 percent increase in the risk of developing cancers of the kidney, rectum, thyroid, and blood. Of the 19 cancers studied, none showed a negative association with height.

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