Study Finds: Tall Women at Greater Risk for Developing Cancer








In a startling new study, there is evidence that tall women are at an increased risk for developing cancer after menopause.  In the study, almost 145,000 women that ranged in age from 50 to 79 were studied, and researchers discovered that height, more than obesity and other risk factors, had a significant impact on cancer risk.

New research has found that tall women are at an increased risk for developing cancer.

New research has found that tall women are at an increased risk for developing cancer.

The link was found between height, and every type of cancer from melanoma to thyroid cancer, researchers said.  They published their findings in the most recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal for the American Association for Cancer Research.

According to Walter Willett, with the Harvard School of Public Health, the increased risk is slight and balances itself out by a reduced risk of other health conditions such as cardiovascular disease in those with a few extra inches.  He says that there is no need for panic.

Researchers say that it isn’t height that causes the risk factor; it’s the fact that taller people may be more exposed to things that might increase cancer risks.  Geoffrey Kabat, who is the lead author of the study, and senior epidemiologist with Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Yeshiva University, New York says that there is a compelling sign that things that occur early in life feed a process that could potentially increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer.

These are factors that might include hormones, and diet that have something to do with normal growth, but researchers are not certain yet.

Cancer occurs when abnormal cells begin to divide without control.  It is a process that has to do with growth, so it often follows that growth factors such as hormones that help to influence a person’s height could also have an influence on the risk for cancer.

These findings are crucial in helping researchers find new ways to prevent and treat cancer.

For the study, postmenopausal women participated in the Women’s Health Initiative, which was a 15 year long research program that started in 1991.  The National Institutes of Health, as well as other agencies, began the program to see if they could address some of the most common causes of poor quality of life, disability and death in postmenopausal women.

During the study, 144,701 women were tracked for an average of 12 years.  In that time, 20,928 women developed cancer for the first time.  Even when certain risk factors, such as the women’s BMI, were accounted for, scientists found that the women increased their risk for developing any type of cancer increased by 13 percent for each 10 cm increase in their height.

The American Cancer Society says that the average lifetime risk for women to develop cancer is 38.2 percent.  Additional sizeable studies have shown a link between certain cancers and height, but most of them failed to eliminate other factors as the possible cause, as well.

While researchers still are not certain what causes the link between height and cancer risk; it could be hormones, diet, or even the surface size of the organs that most often are affected by the cancer, the link is certainly something that can help the medical community to better understand cancer and what puts people at higher risk for developing it.

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Written by Heather Nelson

Heather Nelson graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism. She has an impressive portfolio as her works have been previously featured in several health journals and local newspapers in the Sunshine State. She takes health reporting to a new level with factual relation to what readers want and need to know . Having spent the last decade working all over the Internet as a freelancer writer, she is ecstatic that she has the opportunity to work with the Newhealthalert team to bring the best news, commentary, and information to the public on a global level.

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