About a year ago (2011) there was a study that was published and spread by the international news groups about the link between the increased height of the general world population and the increase in cancer rates in the world.
I remember once a person on a website saying that technically, cancer is just any type of cell division growth that becomes uncontrollable. The cells can not stop differentiating and multiplying and move from a benign tumor to a malignant tumor. Thus, taller people usually have more mass than shorter people. So they have more cells. That would correlate in a linear way to the fact that with more mass and more cells, there is a higher chance that one of the cells in the taller person’s body will turn malignant and start multiplying without stop.
Of course there are some factors which can increase the possibility go cell mutation into uncontrollable growth, like radiation, electricity, certain chemicals, and even virus. There are also factors which decrease the possibility of cancer like exercise, resveratrol, good food, etc. However, what the guy was making the point was that on average, taller people should have a higher rate of possible cancer, if all other factors are held constant.
I will only post on here the story told by The Telegraph, a news site from the UK (link at the bottom) and the Huffington Post (source HERE). If you wanted to read more about the studies and the news articles published talking about it, refer to the links I have put up at the bottom of the article. As always, the most important parts will be highlighted. Thank you.
Tall people at greater cancer risk
Taller people are more likely to get cancer, a study shows.
Although previous research has linked height with particular tumours – such as breast in women and testicular in men – new findings show the phenomenon is not restricted to any types of the disease.
Dr Jane Green, who led the research, said: “The fact that the link between height and cancer risk seems to be common to many different types of cancer in different people suggests there may be a basic common mechanism, perhaps acting early in peoples’ lives, when they are growing.
“Of course people cannot change their height. And being taller has actually been linked to a lower risk of other conditions, such as heart disease.”
Hormone levels related to childhood growth, and in turn to cancer risk in later life, could be behind the phenomenon.
It was also suggested the link could simply be down to the fact that taller people have more cells in their bodies, and so a greater chance of developing cancerous cell changes.
Dr Green said: “One possible reason is fairly obvious – tall people have more cells so there is a greater chance that one of them could mutate.
“But being tall is also related to hormonal growth factors which leads to a higher turnover of cells and this is an interesting possibility.
“There is nothing we can do about our height but these findings may open the door to discovering how some cancers may develop.”
She went on: “Although we carried out our study in women when we compared the results to previous ones involving both sexes we found a similar link between cancer and height in men.
“So there is no gender bias and the association seems to apply to a range of cancers – it’s just most studies have been carried out on the more common ones like breast and colorectal.”
Dr Green and colleagues, whose findings are published online in The Lancet Oncology, said previous studies have shown a link between height and cancer risk but their’s extends the findings to more cancers and for women with differing lifestyles and economic backgrounds.
The results also suggest increases in the height of populations over the course of the 20th century might explain some of the changes in cancer incidence over time.
The height of European adults increased by about 1cm (0.39 inches) per decade during the twentieth century, and the study suggests that this may explain around 10-15 per cent of the rise in cancer cases seen over this period.
The researchers assessed the association between height and cancer among 97,000 cases identified from the Million Women Study which included 1.3 million middle-aged women in the UK enrolled between 1996 and 2001.
During an average follow-up time of about ten years the largest study of its kind found the risk rose in tandem with height and included at least ten types of the disease including breast, skin, bowel, leukaemia and ovarian – a wider range than initially thought.
The researchers who looked at women with heights ranging from under 155cm (5ft 1in) to 175cm (5ft 9in) and taller then compared their results with those from ten previous studies involving both men and women and found they were strikingly similar.
Dr Green said: “We showed the link between greater height and increased total cancer risk is similar across many different populations from Asia, Australasia, Europe, and North America.”
Dr Andrew Renehan, of Manchester University, who reviewed the study for the journal, said: “In the future, researchers need to explore the predictive capacities of direct measures of nutrition, psychosocial stress and illness during childhood, rather than final adult height.”
Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, said: “Tall people need not be alarmed by these results.
“Most people are not a lot taller (or shorter) than average, and their height will only have a small effect on their individual cancer risk.
“This study confirms the link between height and cancer paving the way for studies to help us understand why this is so.
“On average, people in the UK have a more than one in three chance of developing cancer in their lifetime. So it’s important that everyone is aware of what is normal for their body and go see their doctor as quickly as possible if they notice any unusual changes.
“And while we can’t control our height, there are many lifestyle choices people can make that we know have a greater impact on reducing the risk of cancer such as not smoking, moderating alcohol, keeping a healthy weight and being physically active.”
Tall Women May Have A Greater Cancer Risk
Huffington Post Amanda Chan First Posted: 07/21/11 02:28 PM ET Updated: 09/20/11 06:12 AM ET
Tall women may be more likely to develop several different cancers than their shorter counterparts, a new study suggests.
Published in the journal Lancet Oncology, the study shows that for every 4-inch increase in height, the risk of 10 different cancers — include leukemia, melanoma, breast, ovarian, bowel and uterine cancer — goes up 16 percent.
“Because height is linked to a wide range of cancersin a wide range of people, [the finding] may give us a clue to basic common mechanisms for cancer,” study researcher Jane Green, a cancer epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, told ABC News.
So what should you do if you’re tall? First, don’t panic. The study found an association, not direct link. And of course, height is something that is largely out of our control — affected by genetics and nutrition.
The results also don’t suggest that tall people need extra cancer screening.
Luckily, it’s not all bad news for tall people — a study published this month in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health shows that longer legs seems to be tied with a longer lifespan, the Daily Mailreported.
This isn’t the first study to link physical attributes to cancer risk. Research published last year in the British Journal of Cancer showed that men who have long index fingers have a decreased risk of prostate cancer, because finger length seems to be linked with the amount of testosterone a man produces.
In the new study, the researchers analyzed the health information and height of more than 1 million women who participated in the Million Women Study between 1996 and 2001, none of whom had been diagnosed with cancer at the start of the study. They followed the women for nine years.
The researchers grouped the women into groups by height, with the shortest group consisting of women who are less than 5 feet 1 inch in height, and the tallest group consisting of women who are 5 feet 9 inches or taller.
Even though the researchers found that the taller women seemed to have fewer children and drink more alcohol than the shorter women, they were less likely to be smokers or obese and were more likely to be wealthy and active, the study said. Despite this, the taller women seemed to be more likely to develop cancer.
For every 4 inches of height, cancer risk increased by 32 percent for skin cancer, 29 percent for kidney cancer, 26 percent for leukemia and 16 percent for breast cancer.