Written by: Ann P Sorgent RN, BSN, Clinical Supervisor – Agnesian Cancer Center
A paper recently published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention journal discussed studies revealing that the taller a post-menopausal woman is, the greater risk she has of developing cancer. This discussion was prompted by a recent study of data from over 144,000 women who had participated in the Women’s Health Initiative study in the early 1990’s. To be fair, height in and of itself is most likely not the sole reason for this increased risk. Other factors such as nutrition, overall weight, genetics, and other factors that influence growth are probably involved.
If you are like me, you are probably thinking “what next!?” Indeed, it seems like there are frequent cautionary articles describing the risks of everyday living! What is a person to do?
My advice is to control what risk you can, in order to mitigate the risks you cannot control. For example, you cannot control your genetics. Your mother is your mother and your father is your father. You can, however learn about your family health, and discuss screening and prevention issues with your provider. You cannot control your sex – you are male or female. You can, however take advantage of screening according to the recommended guidelines and your providers recommendations. You may not have much control over the environment in which you live and work, but you can control such things as exposure to smoking and/or second hand smoke. So, although you cannot control your height per se, you can control your weight, your diet, your exposure to known carcinogens, and your attention to your general good health.