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Taller, Heavier Women May Face Higher Ovarian Cancer Risk

TUESDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Taller, heavier women may be at an increased risk of ovarian cancer, research suggests.

An international research group examined data from 47 studies conducted in 14 countries involving more than 25,000 women with ovarian cancer and 81,000 women without the disease.

Every 2-inch increase in a woman's height was associated with a significant increase in the odds of developing ovarian cancer, the investigators found. A higher body mass index (a measurement based on height and weight) also was associated with a higher risk of ovarian cancer, but only among women who had never taken menopausal hormone therapy.

The researchers found that the association between height and weight and ovarian cancer remained even after taking into account other factors that could influence ovarian cancer risk, such as age, age at first menstrual period, family history of ovarian or breast cancer, use of oral contraceptives, menopausal status, and use of alcohol or tobacco.

Women's average height and weight in high-income countries has steadily increased in past decades, the study authors noted in a news release from the Public Library of Science.

The results of this large, observational study by the Collaborative Group on Epidemiological Studies of Ovarian Cancer, based at Oxford University in England, are published in this week's issue of the journal PLoS Medicine.

Although the researchers found an association between height and weight and ovarian cancer risk, they did not prove that being taller or heavier causes ovarian cancer.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about risk factors for ovarian cancer.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Public Library of Science, news release, April 3, 2012

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