Colorectal Cancer Risk May Grow With Height

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The colorectal cancer rate dropped overall since the mid-1980s because of lifestyle changes and early detection through screening. However, the downward trend is mostly in older adults.

In recent years, the deaths from colorectal cancer among individuals younger than 50 have increased 2% per year from 2007 to 2016 for no clear reasons.


While the association between height and colorectal cancer has been previously investigated, the results were confusing and did not include the presence of growth with cancerous potential.

“This is the largest study of its kind to date. It builds on evidence that taller height is an overlooked risk factor, and should be considered when evaluating and recommending patients for colorectal cancer screenings,” says Gerard Mullin, M.D., associate professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

This new study strengthens only the long-observed links between taller stature and colorectal cancer risk. The findings are published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.

Researchers think the possible reason for this link could be the correlation of adult height with body organ size.

More active expansion of organs in taller people might increase the possibility of cancer-inducing genetic changes.

The research team compared the highest versus the lowest height percentile of various study groups due to variations in the concept of tall.

They found that the tallest individuals within the highest percentile of height had a 24% higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than the shortest within the lowest percentile.

The results were adjusted for demographic, socioeconomic, behavioral, and other known risk factors of colorectal cancer.

Those risk factors include age, family history of colorectal cancer or adenomas, and a personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

Height may affect the colorectal cancer risk but not directly like other modifiable factors such as cigarette smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, and high processed red meat intake.

Currently, gastroenterologists focus on genetic and age-related risks for recommending colorectal cancer screenings.

Creating greater awareness and promoting more research in the future will change the guidelines for physicians to consider height as a risk factor for colorectal cancer.

Source: Medindia



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