Published April 04, 2012
Taller women are more likely to develop ovarian cancer, scientists from the University of Oxford claimed Wednesday.
The researchers made the link after examining data from 47 studies involving more than 25,000 women with ovarian cancer and more than 80,000 women without the disease.
They found that every two inches (five centimeters) in height increased the risk of developing ovarian cancer by seven percent.
Lead researcher Dr. Gillian Reeves, of the university's Cancer Epidemiology Unit, said, "The fact that height is clearly associated with risk may well be important for understanding how ovarian cancer develops."
Reeves said that the research did not provide a cause for the link, but a possible explanation could be increased levels of the insulin-like growth factor IGF-1, which was linked to breast and prostate cancers.
Taller women simply having more cells in their bodies could provide a possible reason for their increased risk of developing the cancer, the scientists suggested.
The research, published in the journal PLoS Medicine, also found a link between ovarian cancer and body mass, with the disease being more common in overweight women -- but only those who never received hormone replacement therapy.
The findings took into consideration factors such as age, ethnicity, use of the contraceptive pill, lifestyle choices and family history of the disease, the researchers said.
Sarah Williams, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, which funded the work, said, "Women can reduce their risk of this and many other diseases by keeping to a healthy weight. For women trying to lose weight, the best method is to eat healthily, eat smaller amounts and be more physically active."