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Height May Boost Prostate Cancer Risk, Study Suggests
Date:9/3/2008

But the findings could be pure chance, one expert says

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Taller men are at greater risk for prostate cancer and more likely to have cancer that progresses quickly, a new British study suggests.

The researchers doubt that height itself is the reason for the increased risk, but it may serve as a marker for something biological associated with developing cancer.

And other cancer experts said other risk factors for the disease are far more significant than being tall.

"We believe that factors that influence height -- not height itself -- could also influence cancer, said lead study researcher Luisa Zuccolo, of the University of Bristol Department of Social Medicine. "One plausible mechanism behind this association could be the insulin-like growth factor-1 system, which new lines of inquiry should address."

The findings were published in the September issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

For the study, Zuccolo's team collected data on more than 9,000 men with and without prostate cancer and reviewed 57 relevant studies. The researchers found that the risk of developing prostate cancer increased about 6 percent for every 3.9 inches in height above the shortest men in the study. The average height of the men in the study was 5 feet, 7 inches.

In other words, a man who's a foot taller than the shortest person in the study would have a 19 percent increased risk of developing prostate cancer. The statistical data supporting this finding was weak, the researchers noted.

However, the researchers did find stronger evidence that height was associated with more aggressive tumors. For every 3.9 inches of increased height, the risk of a high-grade tumor rose 23 percent, Zuccolo's group found.

Compared with the main risk factors for prostate cancer -- such as aging, ethnicity and a family history of t
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