Being tall may not be that charming after all

Taller women are at greater risk from a host of cancers after reaching middle age, a study has shown.

Every 10 centimetre (3.94 inches) increase in height raised the risk of post-menopausal women developing any cancer by 13%, the US study showed.

Being 10 centimetres taller boosted the risk of kidney, rectum, thyroid and blood cancers by between 23% and 29%.

The research linked height to many common cancers, including those affecting the skin, breast, bowel, womb, kidney, thyroid and ovaries.

An association was also seen with the blood cancer multiple myeloma.

Height has a greater impact that being overweight:

Height had a greater impact on cancer risk than being overweight, according to the results published in the US medical journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Dr Geoffrey Kabat, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, the lead scientist on the study, said: “We were surprised at the number of cancer sites that were positively associated with height. In this data set, more cancers are associated with height than were associated with body mass index.

“Ultimately, cancer is a result of processes having to do with growth, so it makes sense that hormones or other growth factors that influence height may also influence cancer risk.”

Dr Kabat added: “Although it is not a modifiable risk factor, the association of height with a number of cancer sites suggests that exposures in early life, including nutrition, play a role in influencing a person’s risk of cancer.

“There is currently a great deal of interest in early-life events that influence health in adulthood. Our study fits with this area.”

Previous studies have also suggested a link between height and cancer in both men and women.

In 2011, a study of 10 common cancers by Oxford University scientists found a 16% increase in risk for every 10 centimetres a person was above a height of five feet.

Of the 19 cancers studied, none were less likely in taller people.

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