According to a new study, Taller you are, greater is the cancer risk.
The study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B reports that tall people are at a greater risk of cancer as they have more cells in their body.
The multistage model of carcinogenesis predicts cancer risk will increase with tissue size since more cells provide more targets for oncogenic somatic mutation. The study reports that a person’s risk of developing cancer increases by 10% for every 10 centimetres (4 inches) they are over the average height. Average height was defined in the study as 162cm (5 feet, 4 inches) for women and 175cm (5 feet, 9 inches) for men.
Leonard Nunney and his associates analyzed previous sets of data on people which included more than 10,000 cancer cases for both men and women to test the observed effect of height on cancer risk across multiple cancers against predictions derived from a general model of multistage carcinogenesis. The data from four large-scale surveillance projects on 23 cancer categories were tested against quantitative predictions of the cell-number hypothesis.
The key study findings included are:
- For overall cancer risk the Hazard Ratio predicted versus observed was 1.13 versus 1.12 for women and 1.11 versus 1.09 for men, and, combined across the sexes, a significant height effect was found for 18/23 cancer categories examined.
- Melanoma showed an unexpectedly strong relationship to height, indicating an additional effect, perhaps due to an increasing cell division rate mediated through increasing IGF-I with height.
- Similarly, only about one-third of the higher incidence of non-reproductive cancers in men versus women can be explained by cell number.
- The cancer risks of obesity are not correlated with the effects of height, consistent with different primary causation.
Nunney also found outliers in specific cancer types. Both cervical cancer and cancers of the mouth, for instance, seemed to be less tied to height, which, the author writes in the report, might be explained by well-established environmental causes such as human papillomavirus infection and smoking, respectively.
According to WHO Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer.
For reference log on to http://10.1098/rspb.2018.1743