Taller People May Have A Higher Risk Of Developing Melanoma

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that forms from melanocytes, the cells that produce the pigment known as melanin in the skin. It can develop anywhere on the body, and has been associated with a number of risk factors including excessive sun exposure. One of the newer risks of melanoma that scientists have recently identified is height.

Height As A Risk Factor

The collected data in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and NHS2 shows the association between the risk of melanoma and height. There were 82,468 white women that participated in NHS, and 106,069 participated in NHS2. With both analyses combined, there were 1543 cases of invasive melanoma recorded. In NHS and NHS2, the percentage of melanoma risk in relation to each 10-cm increase in height was 8.03% and 10.22%, respectively.

In a separate multivariable analysis for NHS and NHS2, taller women were found to have a higher count of nevi, or moles, on their limbs. One possible explanation is that taller people might have a greater skin surface area. A larger surface area may lead to a higher risk of cells having a cancerous change.

Other Risks

Other risk factors of melanoma include:

  • Fair skin: Lighter skin contains less pigment, or melanin, in the skin. If you have fair skin, then you will have less protection against ultraviolet radiation.
  • Sunburns: A sunburn is a result of damage to the skin due to intense UV exposure. If you have a history of getting severe sunburns, you may be at a higher risk of getting melanoma.
  • Family History: Those with parents or siblings that have had melanoma are more likely to develop it themselves.
  • Having many moles: More than 50 moles on the body can be a sign that you have an increased chance of developing melanoma. Having unusual moles will also raise your chances of getting melanoma. Unusual moles are larger than normal and have irregular borders.

If you are concerned about an irregular mole on your skin, or would like to learn more about skin cancer and how to protect your skin, please contact us today.