Why Are Taller People at Greater Risk for Cancer?

Tall people at greater risk of cancer study says

"I tested the hypothesis that height increases cell number and that have more cells directly increases cancer risk".

Analysis of more than 1,000,000 people showed a correlation between height and the disease, potentially because taller people have more cells that can turn cancerous.

Taller people could be more at risk of developing cancer, claimed a new study that examined over a million people. The surprisingly simple reason?

While scientists have known for a while that taller people tend to be at higher cancer risk, Nunney's study into human populations in the US, Europe and South Korea found that this may be because they have more cells in which something can go wrong. Professor Leonard Nunney, of the research team, said: 'It is possible that the IGF-1 level in adults has a direct effect on cancer risk via an increase in the rate of cell division.' He added: 'This association may be responsible for the low cancer rates observed in individuals with growth hormone receptor deficiency.' These individuals, who have a rare type of dwarfism called Laron syndrome, are on average 118cm (3ft 10in) tall among women sufferers and 124cm (4ft 1in) among men. She notes, "The methodology is good-they took data from larger studies, which is important, and they looked at lots of different categories of cancer". The results of his research revealed that women have a 13% increased risk for every additional 10cm in height while men have 11% risk of getting risk.

Each of the study chosen had to include 10,000 cancer cases for each sex.

While height is largely determined by an individual's genes, Nunney said that childhood environment also has an effect, and therefore likely impacts associated cancer risks.

Average height varies among regions but in the United States, men are on average 176cm (five feet nine inches) tall, and women 162cm (five feet four inches). Was there some weird cellular quirk in taller people that was increasing instances of cancer, or maybe some link between the roles of genes associated with height and cancer-causing mechanisms later in life?

With each 10 centimeters from the average growth the risk of cancer increases by 10%.

Of 18 cancer types that have been analyzed in both men and women, four - pancreas, esophagus, stomach and mouth/pharynx - showed no apparent increase with height. "A number of studies over the years have shown that taller people seem to have a slightly higher risk of cancer", she said.

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