Health Care

Tall people are more likely to get cancer

Tall people are more likely to get cancer”

A new study suggests that tall people are more likely to get cancers because they have more number of cells that can undergo unsafe mutations.

However today experts at the Royal Society said there is a small, but real, increase in risk.

"If you were comparing a 5-foot guy to a basketball player who's 7 feet tall, then that basketball player has around twice the risk of cancer across the board", Professor Nunney told ABC News.

Whereas a person's number of cells increases the taller they get, obesity changes the size of those cells rather than creating more.

It analysed 23 cancer types in the UK, US, South Korea, Austria, Norway and Sweden.

On the other hand, hormone levels, other illnesses and how affluent or deprived people are when they are young can also have an impact on height and cancer risk as well.

Importantly, the differences in cancer rates between men and women specifically do show that there are other factors at play other than height, especially in the case of diseases like cervical cancer. Leonard Nunney at the University of California said in a statement that, "If 50/500 average height women got cancer then 60/500 tall (178cm) women would be expected to get cancer".

"Environmental and genetic factors acting during childhood both have a strong effect on adult height", he said.

Hill also makes a note that cancer risk is also related to lifestyle choices. For women, the greatest increase in risk was for cancers of the thyroid, skin, lymphoma, colon, ovary, breast and womb.

"The simplifications seem reasonable, and therefore the main study conclusion is probably going to be the best-supported one available at present: namely that for most cancer types, cell number can predict sufficiently well the numerical relations between height and cancer, with no need to suggest additional factors", explained Prof Dorothy Bennett, director of the Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute at St George's, University of London.

He added: "The effect of smoking is massive". They also have a risk of cancer that is typically 50 per cent lower than that of an average person. It found a particularly strong association between height and melanoma, or skin cancer - with the risk increasing by almost 30 per cent per 10 cms of height in women and about 25 per cent in men.



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