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What's Up Magazine

Taller Women face a Higher Risk of Cancer

Jun 12, 2014 06:00AM ● By Cate Reynolds
Image titleSociological research has repeatedly shown that being tall may give you a distinct advantage in life—higher salaries, for one thing. You can also reach the top shelf in the grocery store. And you never have to have your slacks hemmed. But recent medical research has uncovered a potential problem with height…at least for post-menopausal women. The taller a woman is, a new study suggests, the greater her risk for cancers such as breast, colon, and skin.

The study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention states that the risk of cancer for women increases by 13 percent with every four inches of added height. The average height of American women is 5' 4", meaning a woman who is 5' 8" has a 13 percent higher chance of getting cancer compared to a woman of average height.

But height, per se, is not to blame. According to this study, headed by lead author Geoffrey Kabat, a cancer epidemiologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, it seems height is not to blame, it is only a factor. The real culprit may be what influences growth: Such as milk intake, high levels of insulin, and increases in hormone growth. —S.H.

Bottom Line: Once again, in the battle against cancer, personal vigilance (know your risks and know your own body) may be the most effective weapon.

Illustration by Yun Ju Yang, Savannah College of Art and Design