BOSTON (CBS) – Here’s a situation when size matters. A researcher at the University of California finds that taller people are more likely to develop cancer.

Previous research has found an association between greater height and cancer risk, but this study shows that height itself is responsible. Taller people simply have more cells in their body. More cells means more opportunity for mutations and the abnormal cell division that leads to cancer.

The researcher found that for every four inches or so above average height there was about a 10-percent higher risk of cancer. The average height for women is 5 foot 4 inches. For men, 5 foot 9 inches.

The increased risk was seen for 18 of the 23 cancers considered, but taller people should not despair. The increased risk is small and certainly can be countered with a healthy lifestyle and good medical care.

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