SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

July 26, 2013

Study: Tall women have higher cancer risk

LOS ANGELES — The taller a postmenopausal woman is, the greater risk she faces of developing cancer, according to a new study.

In a paper published yesterday in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers concluded that a woman’s cancer risk increased 13 percent with every 4 inches of height.

The study is the latest of several to report an association between women’s height and cancer, according to lead study author Geoffrey Kabat, a cancer epidemiologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

While it is unlikely that height in and of itself promotes cancer, the multitude of factors that influence growth — such as nutrition, genetics and environment — are likely responsible.

“Height was significantly positively associated with risk of all cancers, (including) cancers of the thyroid, rectum, kidney, endometrium, colorectum, colon, ovary and breast, and with multiple myeloma and melanoma,” the authors concluded.

The study was based on data from 144,701 women, aged 50 to 79, who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative study in the 1990s. Researchers adjusted for other potential cancer risks, such as weight, smoking, alcohol consumption and hormone therapy, as well as for frequency of cancer screening.

When researchers examined the study cohort, they found that the women’s average age and body mass index decreased as their height increased, whereas their average weight, rate of smoking and alcohol intake increased with height.

“As anticipated, younger women and women with higher income had greater mean height compared to older women and women with lower income, respectively,” authors wrote.

Researchers offered a number of possible explanations for the connection between height and cancer risk.

Height is associated with increased milk intake in childhood, and higher levels of insulin-like growth factor, which promotes cell growth and inhibits programmed cell death, the authors noted.

Increased height might also be the result of exposure to steroid hormones. Authors noted too that taller women might have larger organs and skin surface area, which may put more cells at risk of malignant growth.

“Height should thus be thought of as a marker for one or more exposures that influence cancer risk rather than a risk factor itself,” the authors wrote.

But because the study did not include men or premenopausal women, the conclusions about height are limited.

Also, the study data did not include information on leg length and sitting height — known biomarkers of growth hormone exposure.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Vehicle Day 2 PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Vehicle Day at Ipswich Public Library Kids got to climb inside big trucks at Vehicle Day Friday, July 25, at Ipswich Public Library.

    July 26, 2014

  • 140725_ET_PBI_MBRALLY_7 [Duplicate] [Duplicate] Thousands rally for Arthur T. in Tewksbury

    TEWKSBURY -- Air horns blared. Signs were hoisted. There were plush giraffes, construction paper giraffes, giraffes on T-shirts and hand drawn giraffes peppered the parking lot of the Market Basket at Stadium Plaza, just down the street from the com

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos 7 Stories

  • 140725_ET_PBI_MBRALLY_1.jpg PHOTO SLIDESHOW: MARKET BASKET RALLY Thousands of people converged at the site of the Tewksbury store this morning for another rally by employees and supporters who feel disenfranchised by the ouster of CEO Arthur T. Demoulas by the company board of directors led by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas.

    July 25, 2014

  • Hamilton church volunteers assaulted in Guatemala

    A local church group returning to Guatemala City airport after eight days of mission work was attacked Tuesday.

    July 25, 2014

  • BREAKING: Market Basket board to consider sale to Arthur T. Demoulas

    BOSTON — Market Basket’s board of directors this afternoon announced it will consider offers to buy the company, including that from ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. His offer will be considered “along with any other offers previously received and to b

    July 25, 2014 7 Stories