Height, cancer link grows stronger

New research from South Korea provides more evidence of a link between height and cancer risk.

Several studies, mostly involving Western populations, have found that cancer risk increases with height, Dr Joohon Sung of Seoul National University and colleagues note in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Possible mechanisms for the association, the researchers say, include early environmental exposures that influence both growth and cancer, like diet; genes that affect both skeletal growth and risk of cancer; and the fact that taller people just have more body tissue and thus offer a bigger target for cancer growth.

How the study was done
To investigate whether the findings might hold true in an Asian population, Sung and colleagues looked at 788 789 Koreans 40 to 64 years old who were followed from 1994 to 2003.

For men, they found, every additional five centimetres in height was associated with a 5% greater risk of developing any type of cancer after they had adjusted for socioeconomic status, age, and other relevant factors.

For women, risk increased by 7% for every extra five centimetres in height.

When the researchers looked at site-specific cancers, they found an association between height and colon cancer and thyroid cancer for men and women. Prostate, breast, and ovarian cancer risk also climbed with height.

"The consistencies in the associations between height and cancer in our studies and in previous studies in different populations support the likelihood of a common pathway that affects skeletal growth and cancer risk across these populations," the researchers conclude. – (Reuters Health, July 2009)

Read more:
Height affects prostate cancer risk

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 624 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 7459 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 927 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.63
+1.2%
Rand - Pound
20.23
-0.2%
Rand - Euro
17.61
-0.5%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.47
+1.3%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.8%
Gold
1,726.04
+1.5%
Silver
21.05
+1.6%
Palladium
2,321.00
+4.3%
Platinum
934.50
+3.3%
Brent Crude
88.86
+4.2%
Top 40
59,840
+3.3%
All Share
66,313
+3.2%
Resource 10
64,568
+4.5%
Industrial 25
80,073
+3.2%
Financial 15
14,053
+1.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE