Study links height and cancer risk -

Study links height and cancer risk

A woman's height may affect her chances of getting cancer according to one study. The study suggests the taller a woman is, the higher her risk of developing different types of cancer.

This study confirms what previous studies have shown, but it also looked at other factors such as socio-economic status and types of cancer.

The experts say the most important thing to remember is that it's not really height that's the problem.

This study is just the start of learning more about what the problem actually is.

It was a study done in the United Kingdom, and involving nearly 1,300,000 women over about nine years per woman.

It linked taller height with increased cancer risk.

University of Arizona epidemiology professor, Dr. Zhao Chen, is Director of the College of Public Health Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

She says the study looked at women, five-feet-one inch tall, and went up from there.

"What they reported in this paper was with every 10 centimeter (3.9 inch) increase in height, cancer risk is increasing by 16%," Dr. Chen says."@

The research suggests the connection includes all socio-economic groups, and most of the cancers in the study.

Dr. Chen says there's one important thing to remember.

"What we really want to make clear to the general public is height does not cause cancer, but height may be a marker of something else," she says.

Dr. Chen says that's where the next stage of research needs to go.

It should look at what else might be going on here.

She says there are many possibilities. 

"Genetic, shared--common genetic background, and shared environmental factors such as nutrition, infectious disease, also hormonal factors may affect both height and cancer risk," she says.

Dr. Chen says this is just one possible cancer risk factor among a long list of others.

So, she says we all, especially taller women, should take the usual precautions.

"I would definitely be more motivated to go to do cancer screening. There's really nothing from the study should scare people."

Men are not immune.

While the researchers didn't study men directly, they did analyze previous studies.

They found taller men also had an increased risk of cancer.

The study was published in the British medical journal, The Lancet. 

Copyright 2011 America Now. All rights reserved.

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