Lifewatch: Your height and cancer

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - There are studies that have tried to find a link between height and salary, height and education, and even height and attractiveness.  But now, some doctors are saying the risk for cancer could increase with height.

A study at the University of Bristol in England found that typically shorter people are at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and osteoarthritis.

Taller people can face a 20 to 60 percent greater risk for certain cancers like breast, prostate, and colon.

"Here's a stat: for prostate cancer in men, there's an increase of six percent for every four inches above the average height for men," said Dr. Troy Neal.  "An example for women, breast cancer increases 11 percent for every two inches above average height for women."

The average man is 5'9" and the average woman is 5'4".

Some possible reasons for this could be a result of early environmental exposures that influence both growth and cancer, like diet.

The fact that taller people have more body tissue means they offer a bigger target for cancer growth.