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Yeshiva University Professor Links Tallness with Cancer

Research from Professor Geoffrey Kabat indicates that with every three inches of height, the risk of cancer increases 1.13%

By: Graham Sigurdson
Published: November 18th, 2013 in Health » Israel

Geoffrey Kabat, a professor at Yeshiva University, has found a relationship that links an individual’s height and their risks of getting cancer.

As reported in Discover Magazine, Kabat’s study was done to better assess the connections between tall women and a variety of cancers, all while considering variables that include nutrition, stress, income, education, and socioeconomic status. “You really want to make very sure that you have excluded the possibility that any association you find between height and cancer is not due to the interference of some sort of other factor,” Kabat told the magazine.

Using information from the 144,701 women that took part in a Women’s Health Initiative study, which took place between 1993 and 1998 at forty sites across the U.S., Kabat found that there was a significant link between height and cancers in the body. “For each additional 10 cm (3.94 inches) of height, a woman had a 1.13 times greater overall cancer risk,” said Discover Magazine.

Kabat’s study was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.

That said, Kabat doesn’t have an exact explanation for the phenomenon. “It’s hard to study because growth takes place in childhood and adolescence, and cancer takes place four decades later,” he said. He speculated that it could be that taller people produce more growth factors, differences in diet and nutrient density, or the simpler explanation that taller people have more cells in their body, which increases the risk of cancer simply by giving them more of a chance to grow.

Kabat stresses that the results shouldn’t cause tall people to worry unnecessarily, ‘especially since you can’t magically will yourself short,’ he said. Quitting smoking, eating well, and exercise are all known to lower the risks of cancer, and are something that everyone can control, unlike height.

As someone who is 6’1, I’m going to take that to heart and empty my pantry full of Twinkies.

Related articles: Health News, Cancer, Height, Yeshiva University, Israel News, Geoffrey Kabat, Women’s Health
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