A new study found that being tall may lead to a much higher risk of developing cancer, than being short.
In the study, the researchers at Karolinska Institutet and University of Stockholm looked at about 5.5 million women and men from Sweden and they found a link between people’s height and cancer. The people in the study ranged from 1 meter to 2.25 meters and they were born between 1931 and 1991. Their lives were tracked until the end of 2011.
The study showed that women had an 18 percent higher risk of developing cancer for every 4 inches (10 centimetres) that were added to their height, while men had an 11 percent higher risk of developing cancer for the same reason.
The risk of developing breast cancer in women who were taller was 20 percent higher, compared with shorter women. Taller women and men both had a 30 percent higher risk of developing a type of skin cancer called melanoma, for every 10 centimetres that were added to their height.
However, the researchers say that the study is observational and it shows a possible connection and not cause and effect. Friday, the new study was showcased at the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology meeting in Barcelona, Spain.
Researchers say that even though they did not find a cause and effect type of relationship, a link between height and cancer still seems to exists and it very important to find out why this connection occurs.
“Identifying potential risk factors for cancer can help us understand the mechanisms for how cancer develops and that might be used to develop treatments,” Dr. Emelie Benyi, a researcher at Karolinska Institutet, stated.
According to Dr. Benyi, there may be some explanations as to why cancer occurred more often in taller people. For instance people who are taller naturally have more cells that could potentially mutated into tumours. As they were growing up, they were also exposed to increased levels of somatotropin (growth hormones) that may trigger cancer.
The World Health Organisation stated that in 2012 there were about 8.2 million deaths that were related to cancer and almost 14 million new cancer-cases.
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