Risk: Taller women may be at a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer. This photo shows ovarian cancer cells being viewed with the naked eye, left, and with the aid of a tumour-targeted flouresence dye, right
Every two inches in height increased the odds of developing the disease by seven per cent.
The researchers said tall women could simply have more cells that can become cancerous.
Growth hormones may also play a role, the journal PLoS Medicine reports.
Dr Paul Pharoah, a Cambridge University cancer expert, said while the analysis was valid, the impact on individual women would be small.
Researchers say that with women in the Western world gradually getting taller as well as fatter, it is important to make the link.
But others urged tall women not to worry, saying their overall odds of developing the disease are still small.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women, with more 6,500 cases diagnosed each year in the UK.
Two-thirds of these die from the disease, because it is often symptomless in its early stages and not spotted until it has started its poisonous spread around the body.
Tall order: Crunching together the results of almost 50 individual studies of the disease revealed that it is also more prevalent among women who are overweight
Age and not having had any children are known to increase the odds of the disease, while the contraceptive pill helps protect against its development.
But previous attempts to look at the role of height and weight have provided inconsistent results, so researchers decided to put together as much information as they could on the topic to come up with an answer.
Every extra two inches in height raised the odds of the disease by 7 per cent.
The finding held true even when other factors such as age and use of the pill were taken into account, the journal PLoS Medicine (MUST CREDIT) reports.
The researchers aren’t sure what’s behind the link but say it may simply be that tall women have more cells that can become cancerous.
Growth hormones may also be important.
The study also found that the heavier and more obese a woman was, the greater her risk of ovarian cancer, but only if she had never been on HRT.
Dr Paul Pharoah, a University of Cambridge cancer expert, said that while the analysis was done well, the impact on individual women will be little.
To illustrate his point, he compared a woman who is 5ft tall with one who is 5ft 6in in height.
The shorter woman will have a 1.6 per cent chance of developing ovarian cancer in her lifetime, the figure for the taller woman will be 2 per cent.
He added that there are many other good reasons for a woman to maintain a healthy weight.
Researcher Professor Valerie Beral described the link with height as ‘curious’.
She said that with extra inches also raising the odds of other cancers, including breast cancer, it is important to pin down what is at the root of the link.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2124824/Taller-women-greater-risk-ovarian-cancer-Every-inches-height-increases-thrieat-7-cent.html#ixzz1r67dixAt