Heightened cancer risk in tall people down to number of cells

27 October, 2018, 18:17 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • A correlation was found in 18 of the 23 cancer types tested for

Tall people are at a greater risk of cancer because they have more cells in their body, new research has suggested.

Researchers in the USA examined populations across three continents and found that the risk of contracting cancer for both men and women increased 10% for every 10cm in height.

The reason researchers say is because they have more cells that could mutate and lead to cancer.

The research also threw up some surprises: for example, the skin cancer melanoma shows a much stronger link to height than expected - something Nunney suggests might be down to taller people having slightly higher levels of a growth hormone called IGF-1.

TALLER people have a higher risk of cancer "hard wired" into them partly because they have more cells for the disease to target, a study claimed today.

Leonard Nunney, professor of biology at the University of California Riverside has put forward a new explanation saying that the volume of cells you've got plays a key role in determining your cancer risk. Skin cancer melanoma on the other hand shows a remarkable association with height explained Nunney. This research suggests that for every 10cm of height the risk of getting cancer increases by about 10%.

In this research study, Nunney compared the overall risk of men and women developing cancer of any type with increasing height.

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Cancer develops when the body's normal controls on cell growth stop working, leading to the runaway creation of abnormal cells that manifests as tumours.

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.

BBC reported that the data was gathered from four large-scale studies, including the Million Women Study, on 23 cancer types in the UK, US, South Korea, Austria, Norway, and Sweden.

There have been studies earlier that have linked stature with cancers.

It is noted that yesterday it was announced that colorectal cancer incidence increased at an average annual rate of 6% between 2008-2016 among those aged 20-39 in Europe. That's because melanoma needs large mutations to spread than other forms of cancers.

He added however that "unusually tall" people could benefit from additional screening: A seven feet two inches (229cm) man has double the risk of developing cancer than a man who is five feet two inches.

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