According to new research from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York, the taller a postmenopausal woman is, the greater her risk of developing cancer. The study found a link between height and cancers of the breast, colon, endometrium, kidney, ovary, rectum and thyroid, as well as to multiple myeloma and melanoma. The risk didn’t change even after the researchers adjusted for other factors.
In a study of 144,701 women, the scientists found that height appeared to be a factor even for more types of cancers than body mass index (BMI). They analyzed women aged 50 to 79 between 1993 and 1998, specifically their level of physical activity and their height and weight. Of the women in this group, almost 21,000 were diagnosed with more invasive cancers over a 12-year period. The analysis showed that for every 10-centimeter (3.94 inches) increase in height, a woman's risk of developing cancer increased 13 percent. The risks of developing kidney, rectal, thyroid and blood cancers were higher, between 23 and 29 percent.
Of the 19 cancers investigated, none showed a lower risk with greater height. The scientists concluded that since cancer is a result of processes having to do with growth, hormones and other growth factors that influence height may also affect cancer development.