Positive Association between Height and Cancer in the Swedish Population
Emelie Benyia, Marie Lindera, Johanna Adamia, Mårten Palmeb & Lars Sävendahla
Background: Previous studies have indicated that taller individuals have a higher risk of developing different types of cancer, including breast cancer and melanoma.
Objective and hypotheses: Our goal was to study any association between height and the risk of cancer in general-, and breast cancer and melanoma specifically in a very large cohort composed of most Swedish women and men followed over a long period of time.
Method: We have performed a cohort study of 5.5 million women and men born between 1938 and 1991 with adult heights ranging between 100 and 225 cm. They were followed from 1958 or from the age of 20 if occurring later until the end of 2011. Adult heights were collected from the Swedish Medical Birth-, the Swedish Conscription-, and the Swedish Passport Registers. Cancer data were retrieved from the Swedish Cancer Register.
Results: Risks are presented as hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% CIs for every 10 cm increase in height. Adjustments have been made for education and income and the analyses are stratified by birth year.
|Total cancer||1.18 (1.17, 1.19)||1.11 (1.10, 1.12)|
|Breast cancer||1.20 (1.18, 1.22)||NA|
|Melanoma||1.32 (1.28, 1.36)||1.27 (1.23, 1.31)|
Conclusion: We found that total cancer risk and risks of breast cancer and melanoma were higher with increasing height in the Swedish population. This is in line with previous studies. Thanks to the extensive national registers in Sweden, we were able to obtain height and cancer data from the majority of the Swedish population. This association has never before been studied in such a large cohort including both genders.
Funding: This work was supported by HKH Kronprinsessan Lovisas förening för Barnasjukvård and Stiftelsen Samariten.