Tall people ‘more likely to get cancer’ as study suggests human height link.
Human height could be linked to the likelihood of being diagnosed with cancer, with a study finding taller rather than shorter people are morelikely to develop the disease.
The likelihood of getting cancer rises 16 per cent for every ten centimetres (four inches) in difference between people’s height, according to the findings.
It applies to ten types of cancer in men and women, including breast, skin, bowel and ovarian, as well as leukaemia.
‘One possible reason is fairly obvious – tall people have more cells, so there is a greater chance that one of them could mutate,’ said research leader Dr Jane Green, of Oxford University.
‘There is nothing we can do about our height, but these findings may open the door to discovering how some cancers may develop.’
She added: ‘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 people’s 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.’
Increases in the height of people during the 20th century could explain some changes in cancer rates, according to the findings, published in The Lancet Oncology.
European adults grew 1cm per decade during those 100 years.
Sara Hiom, of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘Tall people need not be alarmed by these results. Height will only have a small effect on their individual cancer risk.
‘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.’