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Taller Women Face Higher Cancer Risk

Results of a just-published study report that taller women are at greater risk of developing cancer as compared to their counterparts.

According to findings, taller women are prone to ten types of cancers. Some 1.5 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year, including nearly 750,000 women according to data from the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance which tracks health-related issues pertaining to the three major critical illnesses (cancer, heart attack and stroke).

Oxford University researchers analyzed data collected between 1996 and 2001 from more than one million women who evidenced symptoms of cancer. The women were followed for a period of 10 years and data was collected on women ranging in height from five feet and five inches to five feet nine inches.

The study reports that for every 10 centimeter increase in additional height, the individual’s chance of developing cancer rose overall by 16 percent. However, it was also found that the taller women face a 17 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer and a 19 percent higher chances of developing womb cancer.

Previous research has already shown that some cancers are linked to height, she said, but this latest study looked at 17 different types of cancers, including breast cancer, bowel cancer and leukemia, rather than focusing on just a few. The link between height and cancer risk was present across all cancers with very little variation, the researchers found.

As well, the results showed that the risk was similar across different populations from Asia, Europe and North America. Taller people tend to have been better nourished in childhood the researchers noted. They tend to have better immune systems and they tend to have lower rates of heart disease.

The findings of the study were published in The Lancet Oncology medical journal.

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