A new research has revealed that taller people are more prone to having cancer as they are larger in size and have more cells in their bodies through which dangerous mutations can occur.
According to the study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B by Leonard Nunney, professor of biology at the University of California Riverside, individuals accumulate mutations in their cells (other than sperm or eggs) over their life. In his work, he said that if a particular set of mutations arise then a certain cancer will initiate.
Earlier, some studies had found a connection between a lofty stature and a greater risk of developing some form of cancer. The research also suggests that the risk increases by about 10 per cent for every 10cm of height within the typical range for humans.
Scientists have come up with various explanations for this, including that certain growth hormones could play a role in both height and cancer, or that environmental factors such as childhood nutrition or illness could be a factor.
"Whether that comes from a better diet or the fact that your parents happen to be tall doesn't matter ... it is purely a number of cells, however that comes about," explains Nunney.
However, he claimed that height differences only appear to partly explain why men are at greater risk of many cancer than women.
The research also highlighted some more facts. It said that the skin cancer melanoma shows a much stronger link to height than expected. A slight boost in the rate of cell division, as a result of higher levels of IGF-1, might have a stronger effect on these cells than it does in other tissues, possibly because melanoma might need a larger set of mutations to develop than other cancers.
"A number of studies over the years have shown that taller people seem to have a slightly higher risk of cancer," said Georgina Hill from Cancer Research UK, adding that individuals should not be concerned about their stature. "But the increased risk is small and there's plenty you can do to reduce the risk of developing cancer, such as not smoking and keeping a healthy weight," she said.