Study: Tall women more likely to develop cancer
July 21st, 2011
12:47 PM ET

Study: Tall women more likely to develop cancer

The taller a woman is, the greater her risk of developing one of 10 different cancers, according to a new study published in the journal Lancet.

Researchers followed 1.3 million middle-aged women in the United Kingdom for several years, and found the risk of cancer increased by about 16% for every 4 inches or 10 centimeters of increased height.

But the question remains, why?

According to Jane Green, a clinical epidemiologist at Oxford University and the lead author of the study, the tallest group – women 5 feet 9 or taller – were 37% more likely to develop cancer than the shortest group – women 5 feet and shorter- regardless of factors such as age, socioeconomic status, body-mass index and amount of physical activity.

There were 97,376 incidents of cancers reported among the women, and height related increases were greatest for the following: colon, malignant melanoma, breast, endometrial, kidney, central nervous system, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and leukemia.

The study did not investigate what specifically about height led to the increased risk, but the research add to other studies that have found a link between cancer and height.  The study authors aren't sure what exactly increases the cancer risk, but they believe there are several theories that warrant more investigation.

For one, the authors propose that “taller people have more cells, and thus a greater opportunity for mutations leading to malignant transformation.”

Another possible culprit:  Hormone levels resulting from insulin-like growth factors both in childhood and in adult life.

“Growth hormones increase cell growth and rate of division, and inhibit cell death,” Green explained in an email. “Both of these might be relevant to cancer either directly or perhaps just by increasing the number of cell divisions during which mutations can occur in the cell DNA.”

A study published earlier this year by researchers in Ecuador found that a condition that stunts the growth of extremely short Ecuadorians, simultaneously reduced the risk of cancer and diabetes in that population. The patients in that study all exhibited a specific mutation in their growth hormone receptor gene.

According to experts with the American Cancer Society, tall people should not be alarmed because of these findings.

"The underlying biological reason for the slightly higher risk among taller people is not known,” explains Eric Jacobs, strategic director of pharmacoepidemiology. “Nobody will be trying to make themselves shorter to lower their cancer risk, and the current results do not mean tall people need additional cancer screening," Jacobs explains.

In fact the study found that smoking was a much stronger risk factor. In current smokers, smoking-related cancers were not as strongly related to height, which Jacobs says highlights the overwhelming importance of the role smoking plays in cancer risk.

"The bottom line is that both short and tall people can lower their risk of developing and dying from cancer by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting the recommended cancer screening tests," he says.

The authors also note more research is needed as certain populations continue to grow taller. The average height of people in Europe has increased by about 1 cm (or .39 inch) per decade throughout the 20th century, the study authors say.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, between 1960 and 2002, the average height of an adult man in the U.S.increased from just over 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 and ½ inches, while the average height of a woman increased from just over 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 4. 

“The increase in adult height during the past century could thus have resulted in an increase in cancer incidence some 10–15% above that expected,” the authors report.

soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Um

    Quite simply the most idiotic article I have read today. Utterly, and completely idiotic.

    July 21, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thomas Roy

      Oh so you don't think its useful to figure out the causes of cancer? They studied over 90,000 cancer cases, and found a link that might help us know more.

      How can you think that's not important? Lol

      July 21, 2011 at 16:19 | Report abuse |
    • SimpleButTrue

      I agree. Even the article states that people can't make themselves shorter and they don't know why there is a correlation between being tall and cancer, so what good is this research? They even go on to say that smoking is more of a risk. How many more studies need to be done to prove the risks of smoking?

      July 21, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      Judging by your response you're neither a woman nor tall. As a woman of more than average height this article is fascinating to me. Guess what? The world doesn't revolve around you...yet you found it necessary to complain about it here.

      The research regarding the Ecuadorans is interesting as well. Since height has been trending upwards since the beginning of the 20th Century, one wonders whether the increase in cancer diagnoses correlates...is there a connection? should we have remained undernourished and short? had we done so would we have less cancer?

      July 21, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • Bob S

      Your response is what is idiotic.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:14 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Congratulations on the dumbest comment I have read all week. I guess some people have zero natural curiosity.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:23 | Report abuse |
    • Tune A Fish

      @ SImpleButTrue. Well, that assumes that the only reason to report on something is whether or not one has the power to change it. In fact, there are numerous other reasons to do so.

      July 21, 2011 at 20:51 | Report abuse |
    • iminim

      Like height, we cannot change our genetic makeup. But many lives have been saved or prolonged because those people with genetic risk factors for cancer were known to be at risk and their screening regimen altered to detect cancer earlier. For example, the management of patients with BRCA and familial colonic polyposis is different from the management of people without these genetic risk factors.

      Right now, there is no change is screening recommended for the taller woman, but that may change if further research indicates that specific genetic markers make a taller woman more at risk. This study does not change anything...yet. But further investigation along these lines could improve life for many. The next question is "why are these women at increased risk?" Only further investigation will lead to those answers.

      July 22, 2011 at 09:11 | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Its a total stupid article. I do think its important to understand the causes of cancer. But nothing in this study suggests to me that height is anything more than a correlation.

      July 22, 2011 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
    • Teri

      It is idiotic as they study so many variables in such small groups what purpose does this serve except to create worry about something one cannot change. It's not as if insurance companies are going to start covering mammograms et al for tall 35 year-olds. As for more cells I fail to see how at 6' and 130 lbs I have more cells than a woman 5'4" and 180 lbs...I see nothing on bmi here, cancer rates rise with age and, as for melanoma the tallest in any study, excluding US born black women, are going to be white women (an established risk factor)
      All I see in this is needless cause for worry over a trait one cannot change...

      July 22, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse |

      Chartreux, you are incredibly stupid. This information is 100% USELESS because cannot change how tall or short they are. You idiots make me laugh. You worship some of these scientists as if they can do NO WRONG and that there is no such thing as skewing data or studies to fit their preconceived ideas. I know how these studies work because I work in a facility that does them. Its a complete waste of time and they are simply used as a way to use money laying around that should be used for purposeful ventures.
      You sheep are all the same. Tell me what you can possibly take away from this?

      July 24, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
    • D is Stupid

      D, you are just another person that cannot think for themselves and has zero grasp on what cancer is all about. Drop dead.

      July 24, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
  2. NoRa

    Yeah, but Im sure glad for once to be short! Though I can never get the cups from the top shelf! 🙂

    July 21, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chartreuxe

      1. Ladder

      2. Stepstool

      3. Ask a taller friend to help

      July 21, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
    • neo

      Nora, don't use the top shelf for cups, use it for other things you rarely use....and if you smoke, it's time to quit.

      July 21, 2011 at 17:04 | Report abuse |
  3. jessicaber

    I know tall women and I can not think of a one of them that has or has had cancer. I know of short women that have had cancer.

    July 21, 2011 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Juan

      You have proven the statistics wrong (!)

      July 21, 2011 at 15:29 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Williams

      My ex-girlfriend was 5'9 and had two different kinds of cancer. So that negates your experience.

      July 21, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
    • Fifi

      Jessicaber, refer to the post by Um, two or three pets above.

      July 21, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • Oh for the love of God

      Your personal experience is immaterial.

      July 21, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      I'm female, 5'9" and I've survived THREE different types of cancer: two different forms of skin cancer as well as ovarian cancer.

      So there.

      July 21, 2011 at 16:54 | Report abuse |
    • blondegeisha

      As a woman who is almost 5'10 thanks to my father who is 6'7 I find this study ridiculous. I am of Scandinavian background and a lot of us are tall because of genetics. I don't think the Nordic countries are over run with cancer because they are tall. Silly stuff.

      July 21, 2011 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
    • D

      @blondegeisha-again with the lack of curiosity. Perhaps within a given population, the taller folks get more cancer than the shorter ones. You are so quick to dismiss.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:26 | Report abuse |
    • hpar

      I'm 5'9" and got malignant melanoma at 32. Not a sun worshiper – can't remember even having a bad sun burn. Looks like maybe there could be something to this...

      July 21, 2011 at 19:58 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      They took 90,000 cases. But as to size: blood circulation, nerve pathways, lymph circulation, are all affected by the size of a person. Very tall people can have heart and back problems; we understand that. Why not the same kinds of circulatory problems affecting the immune system's ability to reach all parts of the body?

      July 22, 2011 at 02:57 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Another thing: in dogs, the larger breeds live much shorter than the smaller breeds. This may not hold true for all kinds of creatures, but it may be true in humans. There will be plenty of exceptions, but overall, taking thousands of statistics, it may be true.

      July 22, 2011 at 02:59 | Report abuse |

      It just shows how moronic you are because you do not even understand how CANCER WORKS. It has NOTHING to do with height, weight, or gender. You are a complete idiot. Too bad the cancer didn't take you out.

      July 24, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse |
    • IxNay

      For goodness sakes people, science is on a never ending quest to cure cancer. There are many facets to this and quite possibly, according to this article, height might be a factor. There was no mention that short women will not get breast cancer or that only tall women get breast cancer, because obviously we, and the scientists, know that is not the case. To hear someone say, I'm tall and I don't have cancer is a little bit embarrassing, and beside the point.

      July 25, 2011 at 07:50 | Report abuse |
  4. Melanie

    Hellooooo, Taller. There is more body to get cancer cells.

    July 21, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Juan

      Well, maybe there are just taller cells in taller people.

      Ever think about that ??

      July 21, 2011 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
    • SimpleButTrue

      I think it is because taller people are closer to the Sun! Maybe I can get a couple of million dollars to test that theory! LOL!!

      July 21, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • D

      That was the first explanation mentioned in the article, if you had read it. For some reason, that seems to make intuitive sense for melanoma, because you have more cells being exposed to the sun.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:27 | Report abuse |
  5. Kathleen

    They call epidemiological studies "Fishing Expeditions" for a reason.....

    July 21, 2011 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      I think it is fascinating that they may find variations in growth factor receptors to be partially responsible for cancer risk.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:28 | Report abuse |
  6. Ralph T

    Did anybody consider that maybe there's more cancer in taller women because there's more body mass and bone? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out!

    July 21, 2011 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bob

      Try reading the articles before you comment on them.

      July 21, 2011 at 15:03 | Report abuse |

    there is WAY more to this study than height. i bet anything, it has more to do with lifestyle, which country people are from and so on and so on. studies like this make people more dumb after reading them. do yourself a favor and don't get your info from the internet, it's made to scare you to buy more junk. notice the ADS all over this? hmm...

    July 21, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thomas Roy

      Lol why say anything? That's the way all statistics are. They might be right, but we'll have to figure it out.

      July 21, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • D

      You have to be the most stupid. The study was done in ONE COUNTRY. Of COURSE there is more to it than height; the fact they found any correlation with height at all is what is interesting.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:30 | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      100% spot on. This is why Americans lag in intelligence academia. Look at the little empty headed sheep who just gobble this up and yet it serves them in no way whatsoever. God, Americans are dumb.

      July 24, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
  8. Not Buying it

    I am a 6 foot tall woman and I do not know one tall woman who has had cancer. I know a lot of women who are short who have had cancer and who have died from it.

    This is the most idiotic article I've come across in a long time as well as irresponsible.

    "women 5 feet 9 or taller – were 37% more likely to develop cancer than the shortest group – women 5 feet and shorter-" So what about women between 5'1" – 5'8" ?

    This article is complete rubbish.

    July 21, 2011 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      How old are you? While cancer can occur at any age to anyone, they do typically take years to develop. The older you are, and the longer you have been exposed to toxins, mutagens etc, the more likely you are to develop cancer. A smoker does not get cancer from smoking for one day, one month or even one year. It takes years before a cancer shows up. Similarly a taller person's genetic disadvantage when it comes to cancer may also take years to show up (if this research is proven true in future studies). You also only personally know very few people compared to the world's population. So what you see around you does not have any statistical relevance.

      July 21, 2011 at 15:13 | Report abuse |

      it doesn't take "years". and are you doctor to make this assumption about medical science?

      July 21, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse |
    • bob

      It sure does, and this is a matter of fact. I am sorry you are upset about the study because it is not to your advantage. I will also restate a portion of my previous comment with emphasis as you have missed the point. While cancer can occur at ANY AGE to ANYONE, they do TYPICALLY take YEARS to develop.

      July 21, 2011 at 15:40 | Report abuse |
    • Afflicted

      I'm nearly 5'11", and at 43 was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I am slim, and have NO other known risk factors (well, I later found out that staying up late {low melatonin} was a risk factor, but that's still not an official one). I've heard that being tall was a risk factor for breast cancer, but only post-menopausal (I was pre-menopausal). To say just because you, personally, don't know of anyone tall with cancer and so the article is false is unbelievably...well, I won't say what I want, because I don't believe in name calling, but it's certainly ignoring facts from research over (very limited) personal experience. There are all sorts of risk factors for all sorts of diseases out there, and probably for most diseases, we don't even understand what all goes into who gets what. Certainly I believe we have no idea what all causes cancer. Also, when they say "breast cancer"...there are at least three different types of breast cancer, so which type? All? Or endocrine only? So, you see, Not Buying It, there are a lot of factors in the situation already. Some known, and researchers are trying to figure out more. It's complex. Clearly you don't have a scientific background, and maybe you don't believe anything outside your own experiences anyway, but I'm proof that yes, tall, even relatively young and tall, women DO indeed get breast cancer. Despite what's true in your circle of acquaintances. Maybe there are even OTHER factors you also won't believe contribute!

      July 21, 2011 at 15:50 | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      Hello, had my first cancer when I was 37, ovarian cancer when I was 49 and I'm 5'9" and survived three different diagnoses of cancer.

      Three different cancers.

      July 21, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
    • ^Really Stupid People^

      Don’t buy it… don’t get exams, smoke three packs a day, and show those stupid doctors who is really smart when find out you have cancer at stage 4. That will show’em.

      July 21, 2011 at 17:00 | Report abuse |
    • neo

      i don't think dumb is correlated with height, but you sure tip the scale in that direction. Obviously if the study correlates a higher incidence in tall women (5'9 or taller) vs short women (5 feet and under) is 37%, one can assume that the taller you are, the geater the chance of cancer. If the study only measured women 5'5 and 5'6, you wouldn't be able to determine any differences! The article also averages it for you....about 16% increase for every 4 inches.

      July 21, 2011 at 18:17 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Please learn the difference between anecdotal (small numbers of people) reports and epidemiological statistics (large numbers of people in a population). You DON'T know very much.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:34 | Report abuse |

    there are so many factors that contribute to illness. some people treat their bodies like trash and never seem to get sick. it's about luck, genetics, lifestyle and just plain luck. there is no magic pill or potion that will keep you young. just common sense and the rest is up to god.

    July 21, 2011 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      The studies are being done to obtain knowledge that will help in the development of treatments in the future.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
  10. Mordechai

    This is perfectly logical, just as a large parking lot is more likely than a small parking lot to contain a beige 2009 Honda Accord.

    July 21, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. mjh

    innocent until proven guilty refering to taller people developing cancer there could be other reasons not known or discovered for instance rationalize GENERATIONAL GENECTICS BY CULTURE and see what statistics you come up with

    July 21, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. odin673

    Maybe it is because they have more cells? Adjusting for BMI does nothing to control this variable as BMI is based on height.

    July 21, 2011 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Darlene Buckingham

    I thought it was big feet.

    July 21, 2011 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Audrey

    *knocking head against keyboard* what a stupid, stupid article. Where has common sense gone?

    July 21, 2011 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ozzi

      People that bang their heads against the computer are more likely to have frontal lobe damage.

      Now where's my grant?

      July 21, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
    • Bob S

      Honey you need to get an education.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:16 | Report abuse |
  15. pazyfe

    as a cancer survivor these are the articles that I stood away from, jibberish jibberish jibberish

    July 21, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. willie

    Short people got no reason
    Short people got no reason
    Short people got no reason
    To live

    They got little hands
    Little eyes
    They walk around
    Tellin' great big lies
    They got little noses
    And tiny little teeth
    They wear platform shoes
    On their nasty little feet

    Well, I don't want no short people
    Don't want no short people
    Don't want no short people
    `Round here

    Short people are just the same
    As you and I
    (A fool such as I)
    All men are brothers
    Until the day they die
    (It's a wonderful world)

    Short people got nobody
    Short people got nobody
    Short people got nobody
    To love

    They got little baby legs
    That stand so low
    You got to pick em up
    Just to say hello
    They got little cars
    That go beep, beep, beep
    They got little voices
    Goin' peep, peep, peep
    They got grubby little fingers
    And dirty little minds
    They're gonna get you every time
    Well, I don't want no short people
    Don't want no short people
    Don't want no short people
    'Round here

    July 21, 2011 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elizabeth

      Now pay the ASCAP licensing fee.

      July 22, 2011 at 03:06 | Report abuse |
    • NC


      July 22, 2011 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
  17. Erin

    That is a very unfounded fact. In speaking for my self and family. We are all tall 6 feet plus and have never had a dx of cancer in the family. Scientists should use research money on something more important than height studies.

    July 21, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chartreuxe

      Perhaps you should consider how lucky you all are, Erin. I've survived three different forms of cancer, one of which has a 75% fatality rate.

      Rather than damning the study, maybe you should be grateful you haven't had to suffer through the illness, surgery, chemotherapy others have suffered. You're lucky to have all your people with you still. My sister died from cancer when I was only 7. I've lived an entire lifetime without her but I still miss her every single day of my life. Every. Single. Day.

      Do you have a sister, Erin, whom you love and are close to and share you life with every day? Do you have a brother you love dearly and would miss if he were suddenly taken from you? What about your father? Are you close to him? What if he weren't there? What about your mother?

      Some people are unaware of what they have because they don't know how easily it could all be taken away from them. Maybe you are one of those people, Erin. Spend a few minutes thinking about what it will be like when you lose one of your beloved relatives. One day it will happen to you, too.

      One day this study might apply to you. You might be grateful for it then. Until that day be aware that the world doesn't revolve solely around you and yours, and that maybe, just maybe, you're one of the lucky ones. For now.

      July 21, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      HAHA. Chartreux, you need help and you need to learn some critical thinking. A STUDY does not apply to someone. It can be skewed any which way. You read one stupid article and you suddenly believe it? I pity you.

      July 24, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
  18. Suzanne

    The logic of this article (or lack thereof) is gnawing away at my nerves. Don't you think there's some kind of confounding variable of which they haven't thought? That's a rhetorical question, because *of course there is* !!!

    Towns that have professional baseball teams also have a lower divorce rate. The more ice cream that is eaten, the more the murder rate rises... clearly there is some sort of correlation, but probably NOT caused by what these studies are implying!

    Tall people are probably not from certain places of the world (like Asia) that have lower cancer rates - not because they're shorter, but because they eat better (note that I am not saying MORE, just BETTER) than we do! Tall people are probably likely tall because they have "tall genes," but also because they have eaten more during development than the shorter people in other countries where people generally just eat enough to survive. Taller people generally live in more developed countries, and people in more developed countries are more likely to eat processed junk. The processed junk can *surely* be correlated with cancer - the tallness is merely a byproduct! Shorter people eat less, but eat better at the same time. Tall people eat more, but the food is not necessarily as good of a quality.

    Clearly, this is all "on the whole." Individual cases do not matter, statistically speaking. Saying that you know a bunch of tall people who have never gotten cancer while all of your short friends are dying left and right is also missing the scientific point.

    I kind of really hate it when journalists get the science all wrong in their articles. It also scares me that the journalist wrote that the scientists are perplexed as to how tallness could possibly connect with cancer.

    July 21, 2011 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thomas Roy

      quote from you: "It also scares me that the journalist wrote that the scientists are perplexed as to how tallness could possibly connect with cancer."

      quote from the article: "The study did not investigate what specifically about height led to the increased risk, but the research add to other studies that have found a link between cancer and height. The study authors aren't sure what exactly increases the cancer risk, but they believe there are several theories that warrant more investigation."

      It didn't say the scientists were perplexed. It said they didn't know for sure. I'm sorry but, you're just wrong on this one.

      July 21, 2011 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
    • D

      What are you yammering on about? You know nothing-the study was conducted in ONE COUNTRY.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:38 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      The study was conducted in one country, but the U.K. has a large immigrant population that eats Asian food, and is also short. But the one missing factor is that the taller population is much less likely to eat junk than Americans. Yes, it warrants more looking into, but you have to take into account what people really eat from a particular location. (And don't forget that many Asians now use pesticides that were banned years ago in the West; the risk for cancer may be associated with something else entirely.)

      July 22, 2011 at 03:13 | Report abuse |
  19. Chris

    Duh, tall women are closer to the sun.

    Seriously though, did they take into account that Asians have a much lower cancer rate compared to taller ethnicities? I bet that had an impact.

    July 21, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Why can't people read? It was done in ONE COUNTRY!

      July 21, 2011 at 19:39 | Report abuse |
    • ringo

      There are Asians in England...

      (and most darker peoples are shorter. Hmm.)

      July 22, 2011 at 02:33 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      There are lots of Asians in England.

      July 22, 2011 at 03:14 | Report abuse |
  20. WHAT

    Where are these people getting the funds to do such idiotic research?? I want to become their employee.

    July 21, 2011 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      With a dumb comment like that they would never hire you. The scientific ignorance and lack of reading comprehension on this article is really appalling.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:41 | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      I agree. I cannot believe how many idiots believe this article. Wow. Good job cnn! They are testing people to see how much garbage they will gobble up without an ounce of critical thought. USER CHARTREAUX is one of them. She must have gotten off the short bus.

      July 24, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse |
  21. Ozzi

    Dear CNN,

    Just shut up.

    Shut up shut up shut up.

    Shut up shut up.

    Shut up.

    July 21, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Amanda

    The fact still remains, there is still no cure for cancer. Doctors will always provide research until there is a cure. There will always be pros and cons on articles like this.

    July 21, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. OMG

    How do any of you "anti-reseachers ' out there KNOW height has nothing to do with getting cancer until it is researched? You say it's a waste of money but research is how everything is discovered and usually in unlikely sources. All naysayers just go back to putting your head in the sand.

    July 21, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Thank you.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:42 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      What they are really saying is that they would rather spend money on wars than on research to save people's lives.

      July 22, 2011 at 03:16 | Report abuse |
  24. Heh

    Cancer is most prevalent amongst the living.

    July 21, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Theorizer

    People of Scandinavian decent tend to be both very tall and very fair skinned. I'd like to see them break melanoma out of the mix and see where the dust settles.

    July 21, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      What is all of this Scandinavian BS-the study was conducted in the UNITED KINGDOM.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:43 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      The article was indeed missing some important information, for those who do not know it.
      1. There are plenty of Asians in England. 2. The Danes conquered England over a thousand years ago, and later the Normans, who were Vikings that had settled in France, and therefore, there is plenty of Viking genetics in England. That "ruddy" complexion is very prone to melanoma.

      July 22, 2011 at 03:19 | Report abuse |
  26. Ann

    I am 5'10 and had heard that tall people were more likely to get cancer. However I know of two short people that have recently died of cancer. It's important to note that heart disease is still the leading killer-not cancer.

    July 21, 2011 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. guy

    And in a marriage of a man and woman...if the woman is taller than the man, quite often the woman passes away before the man...I didn't believe it myself..until my wife passed away at age 53yrs....another mystery of life.

    July 21, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. FirenWater

    "there are more cells so the risk of mutation is greater"? hahahahahahahaha. are these people serious? height and cancer? give me a break. One of the most important things scientists need to keep in mind is that correlation does not equal causation.

    July 21, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ringo

      Obesity is also a risk factor. More cells makes perfect sense.

      July 22, 2011 at 02:34 | Report abuse |
  29. Bill D.

    Good to know that the zillions raised in the name of "cancer research" are being well spent, in providing such useful information as relayed in this article.

    July 21, 2011 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Bob S

    Clearly the most important aspect of this article is how un-interested people are in the science of life. The complain that this was even studied. That is sad. I am sure that these are the same people who don't believe in free birth control and are the same people who believe the rich pay too much in taxes. A little advice for those of you who hate that this study was done: GET AN EDUCATION.

    July 21, 2011 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Bob S-I am with you. They would rather the money be spent on corporate tax breaks so that more jobs can be shipped overseas. The scientific illiteracy and lack of natural curiosity is too appalling to actually be believed in the comments on this article.

      July 21, 2011 at 19:46 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Can you believe that many thought we would get out of a recession by waging war? The same people want to cut funding for research, etc. It hurts; my husband has cancer.

      July 22, 2011 at 03:23 | Report abuse |
  31. becca

    correlation does not imply causation so if there's a correlation between height andincreased cancer risk, it doesn't imply that cancer risk is caused by height. it's just showing a correlation. there is certainly another third variable involved.

    July 21, 2011 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. 5'7"

    Okay, math isn't my strong suit, but I'll attempt to do some here. The study involved 1,297,124 middle-aged women. Of those, 97,376 got cancer within 10 years. So, first of all, we're talking older women here. Then, they took those 97,376 and looked at height. Let's be generous and say half of those were tall. That leaves 48,688 tall people who got cancer out of nearly 1.3 million tested subjects. And what these alarmist articles fail to mention is, 1,199,748 of those studied DID'T get ANY cancer. Wonder how many of THEM were tall?

    July 21, 2011 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Afflicted

      Yes, they break down their large group by heights, and then watch cancer rates in each group. No one is saying that more tall people got cancer than didn't. And I seriously doubt anyone is fear-mongering, trying to scare us if we're tall. All they are saying is, there appears to be a correlation between height and cancer rates in certain cancers, and so it bears more study, because although we can tell the correlation is there, we don't know why it is. And yes, correlation is not causation, but where there's smoke there's fire, even if the smoke's not coming from where you thought it was. It could be that there's some factor we don't yet know about that's also associated with height, which is causing the correlation. But if we don't investigate things like this, we never find out important information that could lead to prevention and cures!

      I have no family history of any sort of cancer. I'm tall, but I don't think for a moment that this caused my cancer. Cancer is so complex, likely it has several factors that come together in just the right way. Tall may indeed be a part of it. I had no other known risk factors, and several things in my favor, but obviously there was something that added up to cancer. But then, 70% of the women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history. I don't know how many of those have none of the known risk factors, but I do know that breast cancer, at least, is no longer strictly an "aging" disease. Doctors are seeing more and more cases in women in their 20s and 30s; even teens aren't immune, and the youngest female on record with breast cancer was a 4 year old in Canada, in 2010. So. If it's not due to the fact that we're living longer...and even people with no history of the disease are getting it...maybe research to find out WHY isn't such a bad idea, hmmm?

      July 22, 2011 at 04:20 | Report abuse |
  33. loosey

    I wonder what the cancer rates are among the Dutch who are now the tallest people in the world?

    July 21, 2011 at 21:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shaun

      The honesty of your psointg is there for all to see

      July 3, 2012 at 04:17 | Report abuse |
  34. 4initalia

    In the past 100 years, we've not only grown taller, we've increased our life expectancy: Cancer is a disease of aging.

    My grandmother, who was 4'11", died of colon cancer at the age of 80. My mom, all of 5', died of cancer at 64. My cousin, 5'7", died at 40. Cancer statistics are fascinating, but can't tell us what we want to know: "Will it happen to me?" My mom and my cousin were smokers. My grandmother lived with one. My cousin was obese.

    Studies help us to piece together this hideous puzzle. We can't change our genetics, but we can change our lifestyle. And we can use what we learn to fight this disease, instead of each other.

    July 22, 2011 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elizabeth

      Age 80 is aging. But not ages 64 and 40, which are under the life-expectancy of the 1940s. In spite of other risk factors, there may be a genetic link. My grandmother and aunt died at age 92 and 90 after smoking for over 60 years each; smoking is a risk factor, but not the only one.

      July 22, 2011 at 03:26 | Report abuse |
  35. karenreimer123

    Looking for AVEENO Hair Care Collection sample now from "123 Samples" yeah it is sample and they will ship it to you for free

    July 22, 2011 at 06:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. mike

    I think a lot of people complaining about the research done should really open their eyes. Too often we associate positive characteristics with taller people...especially men. Those characteristics can be completely unwarranted, but we do it because its hardwired into our brains. So now a study comes along that says height may not be what its all cracked up to be. God forbid research comes along that says there is a possible disadvantage to being tall. I guarantee that if it was a study about short people you would hear things like "so what, what good are short people anyways? No one wants short guys so who cares if they get cancer." Here is a question you can ask yourself that will actually support this study: when you think of really old people, do you imagine that person being a really tall man or woman? No, you think "little old lady" or a "short old man." You don't think tall old woman or really tall old man. Think about it.

    July 22, 2011 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike is not too bright

      This is seriously your argument? I give up on humanity.

      July 24, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
  37. Fascinated1

    I'm not a big fan of research that points out "flaws" in groups of people with unchangeable genetic traits...not sure how this benefits society, but it certainly can be used to discriminate against those groups.

    July 22, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How unimaginative and short-sighted can you be? The research may lead to a genetic marker for cancer that also is a marker for height. The research may lead to increased screening for people who are tall and more likely to have cancer.

      Why do some of you people even bother to read these stories? You all seem to be pompous azzes who deem yourselves more knowledgeable than the researchers, yet what are you doing besides sitting on your butt and pounding a keyboard?

      July 22, 2011 at 19:09 | Report abuse |
    • Jan

      There is no genetic marker for cancer. It is 100% MAN MADE ILLNESS. It is due to exitoxtoxins and the excessive pollutants in our air, food, and water. You are seriously one stupid individual.

      July 24, 2011 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
  38. Teri

    Because we have more cells? At 6' tall and 130 lbs I can't imagine how I could actually have more cells in my body than another woman 5'4" and 180 lbs...

    July 22, 2011 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Amazon Mama

    Will it decrease my cancer risk if I slump a little?

    July 22, 2011 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Bamboo

    The best answer is that from Sweden. Is that country plagued with cancer?

    I also enjoyed the poem about short people.

    July 22, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. bachmanntwit

    It's too bad Michele Bachmann isn't taller.

    July 22, 2011 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Al-Maghrib

    A diet consisting of Pomegranates, Figs, Olives and Dates will help fight cancer, Insha'Allah.

    July 22, 2011 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Happy Now


    July 23, 2011 at 20:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Poor me

    Really? including 5ft or 5ft 9 inches heights as extremes? thats research money down the drain....lame

    July 23, 2011 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Sir Chris

    What about the concept that women of other ethnic backgrounds such as Indian, etc in the UK are shorter than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts? Maybe they just live a different, more cancer-preventive lifestyle..?

    July 24, 2011 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Larry

    The article went as deep as the funding. The were not paid to find the real answer. That would have cost a lot more. Most of these studies pay someone to find a specific answer to a question. Don't find it then no pay.

    July 24, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Keyser

    OMG....that completely explains my wife's testicular cancer.

    July 25, 2011 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Sandy

    My favorite part was the theory that tall people have more cancer because they have more cells. Funny how this explanation doesn't seem to be offered to explain cancer rates among the obese.

    July 26, 2011 at 02:52 | Report abuse | Reply
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