Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Being Tall May Raise Prostate Cancer Risk

Study Shows Link Between Men's Height and Risk of Prostate Cancer
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 3, 2008 -- The long and short of it is that if you're a tall or leggy man, you may have a slightly higher risk of developing prostate cancer than men of more modest height.

And if you do get prostate cancer, there's a somewhat greater chance that it will be a more aggressive type.

That's the conclusion of British researchers, who looked at data on more than 9,000 men and found that the taller they come, the higher the prostate cancer risk, and the better the odds that the cancer will be a more serious high-grade form.

Compared with other risk factors for prostate cancer, such as age and race, being height-advantaged adds only slightly to a man's chances of developing the disease.

Some of the factors that make men tall may also raise their prostate cancer risk, says researcher Luisa Zuccolo, MSc, a PhD candidate in the department of social medicine at Bristol University in England.

"A better growth, and possibly a more rapid growth, we find associated with a very modest increase in risk of prostate cancer and a slightly greater risk of more progressive disease," Zuccolo tells WebMD.

The study should not, however, be cause for concern among the altitudinally gifted, says Anthony D'Amico, MD, PhD, chief of genitourinary radiation oncology at the Brigham & Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

"My bottom line on this study right now is that it's very interesting, but it's not in my opinion ready to act on in terms of clinical implications," D'Amico tells WebMD. "In other words, I don't think we should screen people who are taller at a younger age, because I don't think the level of evidence is strong enough to support that taller people are more likely to get high-grade cancers."

Height-Cancer Link

The researchers speculate that levels of a hormone known as insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-1) in childhood may play a role in cancer risk. Taller men tend to have had higher blood levels of IGF-1 in childhood, and higher blood levels of the growth factor in adulthood have been linked to higher prostate cancer risk.

Today on WebMD

man with doctor
Symptoms, risks, treatments
man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore
prostate cancer cells
What does this diagnosis mean?
doctor and male patient
Is it worth it?
cancer fighting foods
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
Prostate Enlarged
Picture Of The Prostate
Prostate Cancer Quiz
screening tests for men
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Vitamin D