Testicular cancer risk 'greater' for tall men

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Basketball player
Image caption,
The risk goes up the taller the man

Taller men may have a higher risk of getting testicular cancer, say experts in the United States.

After looking at data on more than 10,000 men, researchers found that for every extra two inches or 5cm in height above average, the risk went up by 13%.

But experts stressed the lifetime risk of developing this cancer is low - one in 210 for men in the UK.

So even for men exceeding the average height of British men (5ft 9ins), the risk would remain relatively small.

And the National Cancer Institute researchers still do not understand how increased height raises a man's risk of testicular cancer.

Other factors, like family history, carry more of a risk, they told the British Journal of Cancer.

Fewer than 2,000 new cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK, accounting for just 1% of male cancers.

The data the US team analysed came from 13 different studies investigating testicular cancer.

All of these studies, spanning the last decade, included both figures on the cancer's incidence and height records of the men involved.

Dr Michael Blaise Cook and his team looked at the data to see if cancer risk might tally with height and weight measurements.

They found no link between body weight and the cancer but a trend emerged with height, with taller men at increased risk of testicular cancer.

Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, said: "Tall men should not be alarmed by this research since fewer than four in 100 testicular lumps are actually cancerous.

"But it is still important for men to be aware of any changes to the size and weight of their testicles and not delay seeing their GP if they are concerned. This is particularly true for young men as the disease is more common with under-35 year olds.

"The outlook for testicular cancer is also one of the best for all cancers - even after the disease has spread, patients can be cured."

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