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Tall Women And Tall Headlines

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new article reports that tall women have a higher cancer risk. One of the report researchers stated, “We were surprised at the number of cancer sites that were positively associated with height…ultimately, cancer is a result of processes having to do with growth, so it makes sense that hormones or other growth factors that influence height may also influence cancer risk.” The statistics were taken from the Women’s Health Initiative data bank.


Attention getting headlines have always fascinating me! This same (il)logic would warn us against tall buildings because they might fall down! But I guess if statistics show it, it must be true!

I recall reading an article some years ago that stated that the reason chemotherapy and radiation were used as treatments for cancer was because we had them available! We all know that both of these “therapies,” like being a tall woman, actually increases the risk cancer, yet this author argued that we use chemo and radiation because we have them. I would argue that we have carrots, too!

What I have learned in my decades of work in this field is how to decipher the real meanings of medical headlines:

BREAKTHROUGH CANCER DRUG-someone paid someone a lot of money

CANCER DRUG PULLED FROM THE MARKET-someone missed a payment

NEW ANTIBIOTIC SHOWS PROMISE-hospitals have empty beds and this antibiotic should fill them

TALL WOMEN HAVE HIGHER CANCER RISKS-we have far too many medical statisticians who need to go back to manipulating cancer survival rates.

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