Life for us Amazons is no crystal stair; we’ve been known to tower over the men in the club when we dare to wear anything more than a kitten heel and we have a hard time buying clothes with long enough hemlines. Annoying, yes. But not such grand challenges for most of us…just a little price to pay for being a bit closer to the heavens, right? Well, a recent study has found a far more sobering consequence of being of ‘superior’ height.

A study of 1.3 million women in the United Kingdom found that women 5’9 and taller were thirty seven percent more likely to develop cancer than the shortest group of women surveyed (5’0 and shorter); interestingly enough, age, socioeconomic status, BMI and physical activity did not change this statistic.

Of the 97,376 cases of cancer reported, the most common were colon, malignant melanoma, breast, endometrial, kidney, central nervous system, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and leukemia.

But the question remains: why? The study authors were not able to identify the reasons for why taller women had more instances of cancer, but did offer a few theories. One, that a taller person has more cells “and, thus a greater opportunity for mutations leading to malignant transformation.” They also consider the possibility that increased hormone levels that led to above-average height may also be a factor.

The CDS says that the average height for American women has climbed from just over 5’3 all the way up to 5’4 in the years between 1960 and 2002; the average male height went from just above 5’8 to 5’9 and 1/2 in the same time period.

A representative from the American Cancer Society reminds folks of the obvious: there’s nothing we can do about it. “Nobody will be trying to make themselves shorter to lower their cancer risk, and the current results do not mean tall people need additional cancer screening,” stated Eric Jacobs, strategic director of pharmacoepidemiology, in a statement to CNN.


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