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Study: Taller People at Higher Risk of Breast Cancer and Melanoma

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According to a new study, taller people have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer and skin cancer, among other cancers.

The Swedish study of five million people appears to support the theory that height and cancer risk are linked.

Its results found that for every extra 4in of height, when fully grown, the risk of developing cancer increased by 18% in women and 11% in men.

However, experts said the study did not take into account many risk factors and that tall people should not be worried.


They said that to reduce risk of cancer, the most important things to do are: giving up smoking, cutting down on alcohol, adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Previous studies have shown a link between height and an increased risk of developing cancer, although why it exists is not known.

In a preliminary report of the study, presented at the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology conference, researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm describe how they tracked a large group of Swedish adults for more than 50 years.

Taller women had a 20% greater risk of developing breast cancer, they said, while taller men and women increased their risk of skin cancer (or melanoma) by 30%.

This study’s early findings are very similar in size to those found by other studies.

Dr. Emelie Benyi, who led the study, said the results could help to identify risk factors that could lead to the development of treatments.

She added: “As the cause of cancer is multi-factorial, it is difficult to predict what impact our results have on cancer risk at the individual level.”

Although it is clear that adult height is not a cause of cancer, it is thought to be a marker for other factors related to childhood growth.

Scientists say taller people have more growth factors, which could encourage cancer development, they have more cells in their body because of their size, which increases the risk of one of them turning cancerous, and a higher food intake, which also makes them more at risk of cancer.