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Taller people are more likely to suffer higher skin cancer risk, claims a new research observing more than a million people.

It said that for every 4in (10cm) increase in human height above the average there was a 10% greater risk of that person getting cancer. "What we haven't been sure of is why-whether this is simply because a taller person has more cells in their body, or whether there's an indirect link, such as something to do with nutrition and childhood".

"The simplifications seem reasonable, and therefore the main study conclusion is probably going to be the best-supported one available at present: namely that for most cancer types, cell number can predict sufficiently well the numerical relations between height and cancer, with no need to suggest additional factors", explained Prof Dorothy Bennett, director of the Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute at St George's, University of London.

"This means that this extra risk is "hard wired" and can not in any obvious way be reduced", lead study author Leonard Nunney of the University of California Riverside told AFP.

"We've known that there is a link between cancer risk and height for quite a long time - the taller someone is, the higher the cancer risk", Georgina Hill from Cancer Research UK told CNN.

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The report, published by the Royal Society, showed that for each 10cm of increased height among women, there was a 13 per cent increase in cancer risk.

Of 18 cancer types analysed in both men and women, four - pancreas, oesophagus, stomach and mouth/pharynx - showed no apparent increase with height.

He tested the hypothesis that this was due to the number of cells against alternatives, such as possible hormonal differences in taller people, which could lead to an increased rate of cell division. She notes, "The methodology is good-they took data from larger studies, which is important, and they looked at lots of different categories of cancer".

Nunney says some cancers may have shown no link because the effect of height was masked by other drivers such as HPV infection for cervical cancer. They also have a risk of cancer that is typically 50 per cent lower than that of an average person. They stressed the findings do not mean women are more at risk of cancer overall - on average men face a risk up to 55 per cent greater than women. "She added, ".the increased risk is small and there's plenty you can do to reduce the risk of developing cancer, such as not smoking and keeping a healthy weight".


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