Are we all going to get cancer?

blood cells and viruses

Well if you are tall and a man it hasn’t been a good week in the news. First we heard that taller people are more likely to get cancer. And now I’m reading that meat causes cancer. So as a tall person I’m at a disadvantage there, and as a man I love meat, so double whammy on the cancer front.

But don’t fear my tall, slim friends- I happen to know a thing or two about stats (thank you college!) I checked out the claims being made here and can calm your fears. Being a tall man is not a cancer guarantee at all.

With height, they found that every 10cm, or 5 inches, increased your cancer chances 11% or so. The average man is what, 5’9″ or so? Add 5 inches and you have 6’2″ and another five gets you to 6’7″. Now, suppose the chances of an average sized man of getting cancer are 10%. An 11% increase would mean your chances are 11%. Another increase makes your chances just over 12%. A 22% increase in risk sounds bad, but overall, you are talking about being just barely more likely to contract cancer.

There are explanations of course. Tall men are more likely to get paid more and get promotions. If we have the better jobs and more cushy lifestyle, we tend to eat worse and exercise less. Tall men have more sexual partners than short men, and while that doesn’t pertain to cancer in any way, I wanted to point that out to cheer you up about the increased cancer risk. You’re welcome.

And meat? It was the same deal. In a random group of 1,000 people, they said those who didn’t regularly eat processed meat would see about 61 get cancer. In a random group of 1,000 people who regularly at processed meat, you would see 66 get cancer. Five out of 1,000 is 0.5%.

So fear not my tall friends. Our cancer risk went from maybe 10% to somewhere around 12%. Be active. Eat well. Try to lead a healthy lifestyle and you can probably cut that risk in half. Don’t be scared by this sensationalist news.