Height affects the risk of cancer

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The risk of cancer increases with height

British researchers have identified a possible link between cancer risk and height. The height of the cancer increases the risk of cancer, the scientists led by Jane Green from Oxford University report in the current issue of the specialist magazine "The Lancet Oncology".

Based on the data from the so-called “Million Women Study”, in which around 1.3 million women in Great Britain were regularly medically examined and 97,000 cancer diagnosed between 1996 and 2001, Oxford University researchers have a connection between cancer risk and body size Study participants demonstrated. The larger the woman, the higher her risk of developing cancer, Jane Green and colleagues report.

Height has a major impact on cancer risk According to the British researchers, the relationship between height and the risk of cancer was proven earlier, but significant social factors were usually not taken into account, so that there were always doubts about the results. In the current study, however, the data from the “Million Women Study” made it possible for the first time to integrate the different lifestyles of women and their socio-economic status, the researchers explained. In the course of her meta-analysis, previous findings on the interaction between height and cancer risk have been confirmed, report Jane Green and colleagues in the journal "The Lancet Oncology". The researchers emphasize that the “connection between height and cancer risk in very different population groups in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America” has been demonstrated.

The cause of the connection between height and cancer risk is unclear The scientists around Jane Green therefore believe that the increased cancer risk of older people is probably based on a mechanism that is linked to the growth phase of humans. However, the British researchers were unable to explain exactly how the relationship between body size and the apparently increased risk of cancer is to be established. The experts suspect that influences from genetics, nutrition and hormone status could also be important. In addition, the higher risk of cancer may also be due to the higher number of body cells in tall people. Because the number of cells increases the likelihood of mutations, which in turn can be the cause of cancer, according to the scientists.

16 percent increased cancer risk for every ten centimeters of body size As part of their meta-study, the British researchers also calculated to what extent the cancer risk increases with increasing body size. The result of Jane Green and colleagues: Every ten centimeters that are more than 150 centimeters tall increases the risk of cancer by 16 percent. For example, a woman who is 173 centimeters tall is 37 percent more likely to develop cancer than women who are only 1.5 meters tall, the researchers report. According to the scientists, the risk of different types of cancer increases with body size to an extremely variable degree. In this way, the researchers have demonstrated the clearest connections between skin cancer, kidney cancer and leukemia (blood cancer). The skin cancer risk increased by 32 percent, the kidney cancer risk by 29 percent and the leukemia risk by 26 percent, report Green and colleagues. In addition, the most common cancer of women, breast cancer (breast cancer), the risk has increased by 17 percent per ten centimeters of body size. The British scientists hope that, based on the knowledge gained about the relationship between height and cancer risk, new research will follow in the future that will help explain the development of cancer. However, the current results do not allow any conclusions to be drawn about possible preventive measures or therapies, as people of course cannot change their body size, the British researchers at Oxford University admitted. (fp)

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