Health News 2015: Researchers Uncover Link Between Height and Cancer Risk

A new study conducted by researchers from Sweden revealed a correlation between people's height and their risk of developing cancer.

According to the study, the tallness of a person can determine his or her chance of getting the disease, 13 WMAZ reported.

For the study, the researchers looked at the information of about 5.5 million people in Sweden born from 1938 to 1991. They then began reviewing the data they have collected from 1958 to 2011.

Based on the records of the individuals, the researchers concluded that taller people have greater chances of developing cancer.

In fact, according to the researchers, every four inches of additional height among adults translates to an 11 percent increase in cancer risk among men and 18 percent for women. This same amount of height increase is also associated to a 30 percent chance of developing melanoma for both genders. Also, for tall women, their chance of developing breast cancer is 20 percent greater based on their height.

Despite the findings, the researchers stressed that the study does not suggests that tall individuals will automatically die from cancer.

"Our studies show that taller individuals are more likely to develop cancer, but it is unclear if they also have higher risk of dying from cancer or have an increased mortality overall," Dr. Emelie Benyi, of Sweden's Institute in Solna and lead author of the study said in a statement.

The American Cancer Society's Susan Gapstur, who was not involved in the study, commented that the research conducted by Benyi's team provided results similar to previous studies. However, she noted that height alone is not a clear indicator of cancer risk. Instead, a person's tallness can provide medical experts insight on the factors he or she was exposed to while growing up.

"Being tall doesn't mean that you will develop cancer," she said according to CBS News. "Height may be a reflection of early age exposures. This study may provide a window to understand some early life exposures, since adult height is a reflection of genetics and what you are exposed to while you are growing up."

Other experts also shared their opinions regarding the study conducted by Benyi's team. Mel Greaves, director of London's Institute of Cancer Research and the Center of Evolution and Cancer, noted that although the team's report is a bit hard to analyze since it hasn't been published yet, a previous study can probably provide a clearer link between height and cancer, according to ZME Science.

According to Greaves, an earlier study revealed that individuals with genetic dwarfism have lesser chances of developing cancer. This is because their growth hormone receptor has a mutation that also prevents the development or growth of tumor.

Tags cancer, Height, Study, health

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