Cancer Study Isn't Great News for Tall People

Researchers see a greater risk for those of above-average height
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2018 7:52 AM CDT
Cancer Study Isn't Great News for Tall People

(Newser) – A new study on cancer won't make for pleasant reading for tall people. Consider this quote from lead researcher Leonard Nunney of the University of California Riverside: "If you were comparing a 5-foot guy to a basketball player who's over 7 feet tall, then that basketball player has around twice the risk of cancer across the board," he tells Australia's ABC. Yes, Nunney's study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggests that taller people are at greater risk for cancer. The surprisingly simple reason? They have more cells, and thus more things go can wrong in those cells, explains the Guardian. Specifically, the study found that cancer risk rises by 10% for every 4 inches people are above average height—5 feet 4 for women and 5 feet 9 for men, reports CNN. The findings held true for 18 of 23 cancers studied.

"Now, you can't do anything about your height, but what you can do is tell extremely tall individuals that they should be aware of this, and if they have any concerns, to get checked," says Nunney. Cancers of the colon and kidney were among those with the strongest correlation to height. A researcher not involved with the study says it backs up previously seen links between height and cancer, but she said tall people shouldn't worry too much. "The increased risk is small, and there's plenty you can do to reduce the risk of developing cancer, such as not smoking and keeping a healthy weight," says Georgina Hill of Cancer Research UK. (A WWE wrestling star made an emotional revelation about his own cancer.)

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