New study links person's height to cancer

21 July 2011

Scientists from Cancer Research UK have confirmed the link between height and the disease, potentially improving the rate of cancer diagnosis.

A new study published today (July 21st) in the Lancet found that for every 10cm increase in height, the risk of female-related cancer rose 16 per cent.

The Million Women Study is the largest of its kind with over a million middle-aged women across nine years monitored, incorporating 97,000 cancers.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, researcher Professor Dame Valerie Beral said the organisation's studies led it to believe the link might be that taller people have greater amounts of cells in their system, so increasing the risk. However, further testing in this vein proved inconclusive, reports Medical News Today.

Jane Green, lead author of the study, cautioned against any over-reaction. She said: "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."

The increasing effectiveness of cancer treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy means that women affected with breast cancer, cancer of the uterus and malignant melanoma all now have five-year relative survival rates of 70 per cent.

Posted by Jeanette Royston.

1 Green, Jane, Height and cancer incidence in the Million Women Study: prospective cohort, and meta-analysis of prospective studies of height and total cancer risk". The Lancet Oncology. Thursday July 21st 2011.

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