The Taller the Woman, the Greater the Cancer Risk?

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.”

Source:Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 


Frequent Acid Reflux Associated with Throat Cancers.

Gastric reflux is a risk factor for cancers of the pharynx and larynx, and the use of antacids seems to lower that risk, according to an observational study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

In a multicenter collaboration, researchers matched some 630 cases of laryngopharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas with twice the number of controls without cancer. Analyses were adjusted for demographics, smoking history, and HPV16 seropositivity.

Among patients who were not heavy smokers or drinkers, a history of self-reported frequent heartburn was significantly associated with throat cancers relative to those without heartburn (odds ratio, 1.78). Use of antacids for heartburn was associated with a lower risk (OR, 0.59). However, there was no such inverse association seen with the use of proton-pump inhibitors or histamine H2 receptor antagonists — possibly due to confounding from increased disease severity leading to their use.


The authors speculate that acid reflux may cause cancers by, for example, inducing chronic inflammation or activating signaling pathways of cellular proliferation.

Source: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention

Common Breast Tumor with Good Prognosis Still Dangerous at 10-Year Mark .

A long-term follow-up of breast cancer cases finds that even women with a tumor subtype thought to carry the best prognosis — luminal A — show steady declines in survival after 10 years. The study appears in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Researchers followed some 900 women from a community-based managed care system whose invasive tumors were classified according to molecular subtypes: luminal A, luminal B, basal-like, and HER2-enriched. Median follow-up was 13 years; some patients were followed for over 20 years.

Compared with luminal A tumors, luminal B and HER2-enriched tumors carried a twofold higher risk for breast cancer mortality. However, the authors observe: “Despite its markedly higher survival probabilities in earlier years of follow-up, luminal A subtype was the only subtype that continued a steady drop in survival over the 20-year period with little leveling off in later years.”

Source: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

Screening halves breast cancer deaths.

Women who undergo screening halve their risk of dying from breast cancer, a new study from the University of Melbourne has found.

The study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention is the largest of its kind in Australia and one of the largest in the world. It followed about 4,000 women in a study of the BreastScreen program in Western Australia.

University of Melbourne Research Fellow Dr Carolyn Nickson and colleagues from the Melbourne School of Population Health said the findings reaffirmed the importance and efficacy of mammography.

The study focused on women aged 50-69 years, who are in the target age range for screening. It included 427 cases where women had died from breast cancer and 3,650 control women who were still alive when the other women died.

The research team compared screening attendance between the two groups and found screening was much lower among women who had died from breast cancer, a finding that is consistent with a similar study from South Australia and with numerous studies from around the world. Comparison with similar studies showed an average estimate of a 49 per cent reduced risk of dying.

Some other studies including studies from Australia claim that screening doesn’t reduce risk of dying from breast cancer. However, these studies do not compare outcomes for individual women.

“Sound research methods have been used in this study. I believe it is time to move on from the debate about whether screening reduces mortality and to instead direct research resources to help improve the program for women who choose to use it,” Dr Nickson said.

“It is important that Australian women have accurate information about the pros and cons of participating in BreastScreen. The findings of this study may help women decide whether to participate.”

“Early detection is the key to early treatment and the free BreastScreen program is the best health service available to detect breast cancers earlier in women aged 50-69 years.”

Source: Science Alert