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Taller women at greater risk of cancer

July 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The taller the woman, the greater chance she has of developing cancer, according to a new study published in the medical journal The Lancet Oncology.

University of Oxford's epidemiologist Jane Greene and fellow British researchers found that every four inch increase in height means a woman's risk of developing cancer rises by sixteen percent.

The report found taller women are more likely to develop 10 different forms of cancer than shorter women, including breast cancer, skin cancer, and leukemia.

Researchers followed 1.3 million middle-aged women for 10 years in the experiment, and during that time 97,376 incidences of cancer occurred. The tallest group -- consisting of women who were 5 feet 9 or taller -- were 37 percent more likely to develop cancer compared to the shortest group -- consisting of women who were 5 feet or shorter.

The study does not state the exact reasons of how height affects cancer development, but Greene proposed taller women have more cells that have the opportunity to mutate into malignant ones.

There's still good health news for taller women. Greene says taller people have a lower risk of other conditions including heart disease.

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