Your Height May Affect Your Risk of Breast Cancer

I am one of the shortest women in my entire family on my mom's side where women are 5'8" and the men reach 6'5" and taller. But now I guess I have a reason to not feel so bad about that. It seems that taller women are more likely to get 10 different kinds of cancer.

The study,
published in the journal Lancet, followed 1.3 million middle-aged women in the UK for several years, and found the risk of cancer increased by about 16 percent for every four inches of height. This was specific to 10 kinds of cancer, including breast, colon, malignant melanoma, endometrial, kidney, central nervous system, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and leukemia.

But why?

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The answer is unclear, but may have something to do with the hormones that caused the growth spurts in the first place, or it may be the sheer fact that taller women have more cells in their body that can become malignant.

Whatever the reason, it gives me pause as my own mother died of the disease and she was three inches taller than me (I am 5'5"). And though I have always lamented my shrimpy status, this study makes me a little nervous. Could it have been her height?

Genes are an odd thing. In 2010, I was gene tested for breast cancer and I was negative. Is it my height? I doubt it. But hey, I am grateful to be short for the first time ever. I'll take it.

This is not to scare taller women, of course. The study is new and still seems to be evolving, but personally, I always err on the side of too much information rather than too little. It could be nothing. But it could also be the key to everything.

Does this worry you?

 

Image via dphiffer/Flickr

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