|Three women. Schaver.com|
When it comes to chat up there are some women who are very good at it. They attract all kind of men and can choose their partners without any problem. Some of these women that come to your mind when we talk about this are the typical tall actresses or models. Those ones with endless legs and charming smile. It looks like everything is perfect for them, right? Well, it’s not. And not only for those actresses and models, but also for tall women in general. The Lancet Oncology journal has published an article of a research group from the University of Oxford in collaboration with some researchers at the Catalan Institute of Oncology where they show that there is a direct correlation between cancer and height (at least in women).
It was previously know that tall people had more chances to get cancer but not if that depended on the kind of cancer and other socioeconomic factors. Therefore these researchers started the study of this “fatal attraction” with the help of more than a million middle age women from the UK with different height and characteristics. For this, they followed these women for 9 years more or less to see if they got cancer or not.
The result was very clear: if you are taller you have a higher risk of having cancer. In addition, the correlation between height and cancer was stronger in these 10 types of cancer (out if the 17 they studied): colorectal, malign melanoma, breast, endometrium, kidney, ovary, central nervous system, no-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukaemia. On the other hand, this increment of the risk of cancer associated to height doesn’t depend on other factors such as the socioeconomic status (if you are rich or poor), the amount of alcohol intake, the body mass index (if you are slim of fat) or the physical activity of the person.
However, there was one factor that affected this relationship between height and cancer: smoking. And it does affect it in a particular way. I will explain myself. Smoking effect was clear in the smoking related cancers (such as mouth and pharynx, oesophagus, stomach, colorectal, pancreas, lung, liver and larynx). I know what you are thinking: “of course, smokers have a higher risk of having these smoking related cancers with height as well”. Well, actually, they don’t! There you have. Interesting, right? But they still have the same increased risk of cancer associated to height in the rest of cancers.
So, girls: if you are short, congrats; and if you are tall, keep an eye on this. But my advice is that taking care of oneself is always good. It doesn’t matter if you are short or tall.
Green J, Cairns BJ, Casabonne D, Wright FL, Reeves G, Beral V, & for the Million Women Study collaborators (2011). Height and cancer incidence in the Million Women Study: prospective cohort, and meta-analysis of prospective studies of height and total cancer risk. The lancet oncology, 12 (8), 785-794 PMID: 21782509