• Kyodo

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A study by a university research team in central Japan has found that tall men have twice the risk of contracting colon cancer as short men, team members said Thursday in the wake of similar findings in the U.S. and Europe.

The team, led by Hiroyuki Shimizu, a professor of epidemiology and preventive medicine at Gifu University, said the findings show that men taller than 168 cm are 2.13 times more prone to colon cancer than shorter men.

The results are to be announced Tuesday to the Japanese Cancer Association.

It has been reported that many tall people in the United States and Europe contract colon cancer, and experts link it to hormonal changes accompanying dramatic growth from childhood to adolescence, but the exact cause remains unclear.

The Japanese study is based on a September 1992 survey on about 30,000 residents of Takayama, Gifu Prefecture. The subjects were studied based on height, weight, food intake and other lifestyle factors.

The team focused on about 13,000 men — excluding those who had already been diagnosed as having cancer — and classified them into three groups according to height, with almost the same number in each group.

The three classifications were short (less than 162 cm in height), tall (over 168 cm) and medium.

Followup checks showed that by late 2000, the same number of men were diagnosed with colon cancer in all three groups.

However, the study linked carcinogenic risk factors such as age, smoking and alcohol intake, and came up with the calculation that tall men are 2.13 times more prone to colon cancer, and those of medium height 1.75 times more prone, than those classified as short.

The team said it also surveyed some 15,000 women and the findings are similar to those on men, but not as marked.

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