Is Height A Cancer Risk? Latest Study Analyzing More Than 1 Million People Offers An Answer


BBC addresses an interesting subject in an article. A recent study that analyzed more than a million people claims that taller people are at higher risk of developing cancer. It seems that past reports have reached the same conclusion.

On the other hand, experts made sure to highlight that there’s only a tiny increase in risk compared with factors such as smoking.

More than that, it’s also not very clear what is the driver behind this link. The leading theory was the fact that tall people simply have more cells that can turn cancerous.

On the other hand, hormone levels, other illnesses and how affluent or deprived people are when they are young can also have an impact on height and cancer risk as well.

A person’s risk factor reportedly depends on height

Report author Dr. Leonard Nunney told the BBC a person’s risk factor depends on their exact height.

“If 50/500 average height women got cancer then 60/500 tall (178cm) women would be expected to get cancer. If you consider a very tall woman, say 6’2″ (188cm), then you’d expect 67/500.”

He added: “The effect of smoking is massive. Even a light smoker (about three per day) has a huge six times increase in lung cancer risk, ie: 50/500 becomes 300/500.”

The report was published by the Royal Society, and it says that for every 10cm/4 inches increase in human height above the average that’s used in the study of 5ft 7in for men and 5ft 3in for women there is a 10% greater risk of that person developing cancer.

BBC reported that the data was gathered from four large-scale studies, including the Million Women Study, on 23 cancer types in the UK, US, South Korea, Austria, Norway, and Sweden.

Each of the study chosen had to include 10,000 cancer cases for each sex.

Of 18 cancer types that have been analyzed in both men and women, four – pancreas, esophagus, stomach and mouth/pharynx – showed no apparent increase with height.


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