Taller postmenopausal women face higher risks for 10 types of cancer, according to a study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
Researchers examined the association between height and cancer risk among some 145,000 Women’s Health Initiative participants. During roughly 12 years of follow-up, 14% received diagnoses of invasive cancer.
After multivariable adjustment, the risk for all cancers increased significantly, by 13%, with each 10-cm (4-inch) increase in height. In particular, risks for the following types of cancer were increased: breast, colon, colorectal, endometrial, melanoma, multiple melanoma, ovarian, rectal, renal, and thyroid. Additional adjustment for cancer screening did not alter the results.
The researchers say height should be considered “a marker for one or more exposures that influence cancer risk rather than a risk factor itself.”