Can Our Height Influence Cancer Risk?

The research AICR supports and highlights focuses on lifestyle choices people can make to prevent cancer, recurrence, and help survivors. So it may seem odd that one of those factors relates to height, a factor seemingly uncontrollable. The topic grabbed headlines the other week after a new study was published.

The study was big: drawing data on height and cancer from 1.3 million U.K. women. The women were tracked for almost 10 years, during which almost 100,000 of the women were diagnosed with cancer.

It was published in the Lancet Oncology. Here is the abstract.

And you can read more about the study in today’s issue of Cancer Research Update.

For every 10 centimeters (4 inches) increase in height above 5 foot 1 inch, the risk of cancer increased by 16 percent overall. When analyzed by cancer type, ten sites were significantly linked to increased height.

The women were all middle aged and the authors also looked at if the height-cancer link was modified by personal characteristics, including body weight, activity level, socioeconomics. Out of 12 factors, 11 of them did not alter the height-cancer link (only smoking slightly did.)

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