According to a recent study, taller women appear to be more likely to develop cancer than their shorter counterparts. Researchers studied that data on 20,928 post-menopausal women with cancer and found a correlation between their height and their chances for developing nineteen different kinds of cancer. Even after removing variables like smoking, alcohol consumption, cancer screening history, and weight, the correlation remained.
Altogether, the risk of developing the nineteen different types of cancer increased by 13% for every additional ten centimeters (slightly less than four inches) of height. But increased height had different risks for different cancers: Risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and melanoma increase by 17% for each ten centimeter height increase. The risk of developing rectal, kidney, thyroid, and blood cancers increased by 29%.
The lead study author stated that since cancer is a result of processes having to do with growth, it makes sense that hormones or other growth factors that influence height may also influence cancer risk. And since taller people tend to have more cells and larger organs, this increases their chances of cancer-causing cell mutations. While it hasn’t yet been studied specifically, it’s likely that the same link exists between tall men and cancer.
So what can you do about it? Research has already proven that eating a healthy diet with more fruits and vegetables and less red meat lowers cancer risk, as does regular exercise. Use sunscreen, maintain a healthy weight, and stop smoking. The importance of a healthy lifestyle is the same for men and women of all statures. And if you’re not so tall, don’t think that you’re off the hook – a healthy lifestyle and regular cancer screenings are still just as important.