Weird but True, Here’s Why Tall People Get Cancer More Often

Weird but True, Here’s Why Tall People Get Cancer More Often

Here’s the logic: if you have more cells, you have a greater chance of having them falling sick.

Smoking, eating unhealthy foods, being obese and working or living in a toxic environment: these are all factors that can raise your chances of developing cancer. But how about your height?

A study that examined four large-scale surveillance projects on 23 cancer categories found that if you’re tall, you’re a target too.

Leonard Nunney, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Riverside was behind the project. Your risk of developing cancer increases, he says, by about 10% per every 4 inches (10 centimeters) increase in height.

“I tested the alternative hypothesis that height increases cell number and that having more cells directly increases cancer risk,” Nunney said. “The data strongly supported this simple hypothesis. For most cancers, the size of the height effect is predictable from the height-related increase in cell number.”

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Cancer increases in other species as well, he noted. Smaller dogs get less cancer than bigger breeds.   

What should you look out for?

“…Skin cancers-such as melanoma-show an unexpectedly strong relationship to height,” said Nunney. “This may be because the hormone IGF-1 is at higher levels in taller adults.”

The likelihood of developing cancer is known to increase as you age. This is a new approach to the idea linking body type with the disease.

So, if you stand out in a crowd, make sure you slather on your sunscreen. And other than that, don’t grow old…although the alternative isn’t that great either.

Photo credit: By Peshkova/

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