A British study of 1.3 million patients found that over a woman, the greater her risk of developing cancer.

Large women have a higher risk of developing cancer, according to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet Oncology Thursday, July 21. Dr. Jane Green and his colleagues at the University of Oxford and the Catalan Institute of Oncologist in Barcelona have reached this conclusion after having scoured the medical records of the cohort of the “Million Women Study”.

1,297,104 women followed for 6 years

Other studies.

Previous studies have made the link between size and breast cancer in females and testicular cancer in men, but it establishes a link with wider ten types of cancers.

97,376 cancers.

1297104 files on women of the “Million Women Study”, followed by the team of Dr. Green between 1996 and 2001, 97,376 cancers were recorded. This study establishes a link between the size of the patients and ten types of cancer: colon, rectal, melanoma, breast, uterus, ovary, kidney, lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia.

Three times more likely.

Women who measure more than 1, 73 m and 37% have more risk of developing cancer than those who do not measure over 1.50 m. From this height, the risk of getting cancer increase even 16% every 10 centimeters.

The increased relative risk for 10 cancers.

But the 17 cancers evaluated in 97,376 patients, the relative risk (RR) of 16% every 10 centimeters is significantly increased for 10 of them: malignant melanoma (32%), kidney (29%), leukemia ( 26%), colon (25%), lymphoma (21%), brain (20%), endometre (19%), ovary (17%), breast (17%), rectum (14%).


Social status does not change.

RR does not vary depending on the socioeconomic status of patients and not depending on other variables such as age, alcohol, body mass index (BMI), exercise physical. It does not evolve depending on the age of menarche, mode of contraception, menopause or even hormone therapy. However, the relationship between size and cancer is most obvious in smokers.

“No worries,” says study author

A difference of 2 to 1000.

But this increased risk is less real than it seems: calculated that “For 1000 women in the larger (average size of 1.74 m, there are 10 cancer diagnoses on a given year, whereas in 1000 women in the smaller (average size 1.60 m, there will be 8 cancer diagnoses in a given year. difference in absolute value is therefore only 2 more diagnoses per 1000 women per year. ”

Reassuring words.

Sara Hi om, the British Institute for Research on Cancer, wants to be reassuring: “Most people are not much larger or much smaller than the average size and will have a small impact on their risk individual developing cancer, she says the Telegraph . And if we can not do anything against his size, the way we live it, we can substantially reduce the risk of cancer, such as avoiding smoking, moderating alcohol consumption, being careful his line and practicing a sport. ”

Understand cancer.

Caitlin Palframan, association Beating breast cancer,: “The big question is why this link exists. If we can find out why size plays a role, it will allow us to understand how some cancers develop. ”

A link but no cause established.

The researchers believe that growth hormones may be involved because they play a role in tumor development. “The other hypothesis is that tall people are simply more cells and proportionately more likely that they evolve into cancer cells. The average size of a centimeter increased every decade in the twentieth century.

Men involved too.

While this study covers only women, Dr. Jane Green believes that men are not immune to demonstrate more they would be great too, and they run the risk of developing cancer.