Are Tall Women at Greater Risk of Cancer?

Would you like to be tall? If you’re like most women, you’d probably say yes. After all, tall women are fashion models, Hollywood celebrities, and basketball players. A taller structure certainly gives you a rare edge especially in this society where physical appearance is everything and beauty standards include a towering height. It’s no wonder many women desperately want to add at least a few inches to their height.

Study – 1
But did you know that being taller also has some disadvantages? The first thing that would pop into your mind would be bumping your head all the time. Well, that’s one.

But on a more serious note, a new study that was published online in the Lancet Oncology suggests that taller women are at larger risk for various forms of cancer than women with shorter structures.

According to this study, cancer risk increases by an astounding 16 percent with every four-inch increase in height. The risk covers several types of cancer such as breast cancer, melanoma, leukemia, ovary cancer, uterine cancer and colon cancer. This is just one of the several studies that have associated height with cancer risk.

Up to now, however, there is still no clear relationship between these two factors. Some researchers theorize that growth hormones may be linked to cancer risk. Taller people have more growth hormones and that can possibly multiply the risk of cancer.

Other experts, meanwhile, believe that the chance of having cancerous cells multiply is bigger for people who are taller simply because they have more cells inside their bodies. But those are all theories that are yet to be proven with scientific evidence.

Study – 2
Another study made in the University of Oxford UK examined 1.3 million middle-aged women from 1996 to 2001. These women were grouped into six categories based on height. Women who belong to the tallest category measured 5 feet 10 inches or taller. The shortest women in the group were about 5 feet 1 inch tall or less.

The study found that taller women were at greater risk for all types of cancer regardless of other cancer-related factors like age, body mass index, physical activity, use of contraceptive and hormonal replacement therapy, socioeconomic status, and so on. The factor of height wasn’t that significant when it came to smoking related cancers like lung cancer. The findings were compared to studies done in Europe, Australia, Asia and North America. The results were the same.

The purpose of these studies is not to scare taller women but for experts to understand more fully the process by which cancer develops. It’s not advisable either to try to make yourself or your children shorter just to reduce the risk of cancer. Experts also don’t require or encourage additional screening for taller women.

The bottom line is this: in order to prevent cancer whether you’re tall or short you need to live a healthy lifestyle! Stop smoking, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, manage stress effectively, and get recommended cancer screening tests.

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