Cancer and height are linked, new study shows

By Shawn Price  |  Oct. 2, 2015 at 5:48 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The taller you are, the greater your risk of cancer, a new Swedish study released Friday suggests.

A massive 50-year study by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm tracking five million Swedes supported previous research that suggests that height and cancer are connected. In the study, taller people were found to have higher incidences of breast and skin cancer as well as other types of cancer.

According to the study, cancer risk grows by 18 percent in women and by 11 percent in men for every four inches in height. Taller women had a 20 percent greater incidence of breast cancer, and taller adults -- male or female -- had a 30 percent higher incidence of skin cancer.

But despite all the data, researchers still haven't yet been able to find why height and cancer are connected. Theories include taller people have more growth factors in their youth that might encourage the development of cancer cells. Another is that taller people simply have more cells, thus increasing the opportunity for cancer to begin.

Dr Emelie Benyi, who led the study, said the results do not mean being tall causes cancer, but the results could help identify risk factors that lead to treatments.

"As the cause of cancer is multi-factorial," Benyi said. "It is difficult to predict what impact our results have on cancer risk at the individual level."

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories