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Length of fingers can indicate risk of prostate cancer say British scientists

A man whose index finger is longer than his ring finger has a statistically one-third lower risk of developing prostate cancer compared to those whose index fingers are shorter than their ring fingers, scientists report in the British Journal of Cancer.   The study results were that relative finger length could be used as a simple test for prostate cancer risk, particularly in men aged under 60.  In men younger than 60, those with index fingers longer than ring fingers were 87% less likely to have prostate cancer.

How could this be?  When the baby is in the womb it is exposed to hormones, such as testosterone. Experts say that the more testosterone the baby is exposed to the shorter his index finger will be. Therefore, being exposed to less testosterone while still in the womb may offer protection from subsequently developing prostate cancer, the scientists wrote.  "The phenomenon is thought to occur because the genes HOXA and HOXD control both finger length and development of sex organs."

Prior studies have demonstrated an association between hormone exposure in the womb and certain disease risks decades later in life, such as breast cancer and estrogen exposure, and osteoarthritis and having a shorter index than ring finger.