The study found that for every 10 cm of height, the risk of developing cancer increased by 18 percent in women and 11 percent in men.
Additionally, taller women had a 20 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer, whilst the risk of developing melanoma increased by approximately 30 percent per 10 cm of height in both men and women.
Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet and University of Stockholm examined 5.5 million men and women in Sweden, born between 1938 and 1991 and with adult heights ranging between 100 cm and 225 cm.
They followed the group of individuals from 1958 or from the age of 20 until the end of 2011, and previous studies have also shown the same association between height and cancer.
“To our knowledge, this is the largest study performed on linkage between height and cancer including both women and men,” said lead researcher Emelie Benyi from Karolinska Institutet.
“However, our results reflect cancer incidence on a population level. As the cause of cancer is multi-factorial, it is difficult to predict what impact our results have on cancer risk at the individual level,” Benyi said.
The group is now planning on investigating how mortality from cancer and other causes of death are associated with height.
“Our studies show that taller individuals are more likely to develop cancer but it is unclear so far if they also have a higher risk of dying from cancer or have an increased mortality overall,” Benyi said.
The findings were presented at the ongoing 54th Annual European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Meeting in Barcelona, Spain.