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Height linked to ovarian cancer

4th April 2012

Researchers who carried out a review of a number of different studies have said height can play a part in how likely a woman is to develop ovarian cancer.

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The research reviewed 47 studies from 14 countries, which looked at 25,000 women with ovarian cancer and 80,000 women who did not have the disease.

They found that taller women had more risk of ovarian cancer, although the increase in risk was "small".

Dr Paul Pharoah, reader in cancer epidemiology at the University of Cambridge, commented on the study review.

He said:  "If we compare a woman who is 5ft tall with a woman who is 5ft 6in tall, there is a relative difference in ovarian cancer risk of 23%."

"But the absolute risk difference is small. The shorter woman will have a lifetime risk of about 16-in-a-1000 which increases to 20-in-a-1000 for the taller woman."

The study review, which was published in the PLoS Medicine journal, also found a "slight" increase in risk for women with higher BMI who had not taken hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Head researcher Professor Valerie Beral of the Oxford University Epidemiology Unit told the BBC: "By bringing together the worldwide evidence, it became clear that height is a risk factor."

 

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