Are tall people really at greater risk for developing cancer?
A study done in the UK and at the University of California indicates that men who are taller than 5'9" and women who are taller than 5'4" have a statistically greater risk of cancer, simply because they have more cells in their bodies that can go haywire.
In fact, the study indicates that a person's risk of developing cancer increases by 10% for every four inches they are over the average height.
"The idea is that with a greater number of cells there is a greater propensity to develop this mutation," Dr. Steven Kalter, an oncologist at San Antonio's START Center, told News Radio 1200 WOAI.
The reserachers studied the 23 most common cancers, and determined that a person's height was a statistically significant factor on acquiring 18 of them.
Patients were studied in the UK, US, South Korea, Austria, Norway, and Sweden. Thyroid cancer and melanoma were particularly affected by a person's height, according to the study.
But Dr. Kalter says tall people should not strss out over this. He says there are several factors which are in the individual's control which have much more impact on whether the person will get cancer, and people of all heights should focus on those.
"Good dietary control with increased fruits and vegetables in the diet, trying to stay fit with more exercise, trying to reduce the amount of stress in one's life, and of course, stopping smoking, these are factors which are more important than simply being tall."
He says there are significant social and health advantages to being tall which outweigh any increased risk of cancer indicated in this study.