The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Friday, July 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Tall women have higher cancer risk

LOS ANGELES -- The taller a postmenopausal woman is, the greater risk she faces of developing cancer, according to a new study.
In a paper published Thursday in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers concluded that a woman's cancer risk increased 13 percent with every 4 inches of height.
The study is the latest of several to report an association between women's height and cancer, according to lead study author Geoffrey Kabat, a cancer epidemiologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
While it is unlikely that height in and of itself promotes cancer, the multitude of factors that influence growth -- such as nutrition, genetics and environment -- are likely responsible.
"Height was significantly positively associated with risk of all cancers, (including) cancers of the thyroid, rectum, kidney, endometrium, colorectum, colon, ovary and breast, and with multiple myeloma and melanoma," the authors concluded.
The study was based on data from 144,701 women, aged 50 to 79, who participated in the Women's Health Initiative study in the 1990s. Researchers adjusted for other potential cancer risks, such as weight, smoking, alcohol consumption and hormone therapy, as well as for frequency of cancer screening.
When researchers examined the study cohort, they found that the women's average age and body mass index decreased as their height increased, whereas their average weight, rate of smoking and alcohol intake increased with height.
"As anticipated, younger women and women with higher income had greater mean height compared to older women and women with lower income, respectively," authors wrote.
Researchers offered a number of possible explanations for the connection between height and cancer risk.
Height is associated with increased milk intake in childhood, and higher levels of insulin-like growth factor, which promotes cell growth and inhibits programmed cell death, the authors noted.
Increased height might also be the result of exposure to steroid hormones. Authors noted too that taller women might have larger organs and skin surface area, which may put more cells at risk of malignant growth.
"Height should thus be thought of as a marker for one or more exposures that influence cancer risk rather than a risk factor itself," the authors wrote.
But because the study did not include men or premenopausal women, the conclusions about height are limited.
Also, the study data did not include information on leg length and sitting height -- known biomarkers of growth hormone exposure.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Photo galleries

» More HeraldNet galleries