Researchers at the University of Oxford have linked being tall with a greater risk of 10 common cancers. They found that for every four inches (10cm) above five feet (152.4cm) a person is they have a 16% increase in their risk of cancer.

tall and short person

The study was published by The Lancet Oncology and observed over one million middle aged women in the UK from 1996 until 2001. It said human growth chemicals might affect tumors.

However the charity Cancer Research UK said tall people should not worry. Sara Hiom, who represents the charity, said: “Tall people need not be alarmed by these results. Most people are not a lot taller, or shorter, than average, and their height will only have a small effect on their individual cancer risk.”

Researchers linked height to 10 cancers: malignant melanoma, breast, colon, ovarian, leukemia, rectal, endometrial (uterus), lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and kidney.

Women over 5ft 9in (175.26cm) are 37% more likely to develop a tumor than women under 5ft (152.4cm) according to the study.

The study looks at women only but researchers say men also have link between height and cancer.

10 other research studies show the link in men.

The lead researcher on the University of Oxford study said: “Obviously height itself cannot affect cancer, but it may be a marker for something else.”

It is not clear why tall people are more susceptible to cancer. Researchers think it could have something to do with growth hormones or the fact that tall people are made up of more cells. They were quick to assert that obesity or smoking pose much greater cancer risks.


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