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13 December 2010
Finger length indicates prostate risk
by George Atkinson

An index finger that is longer than your ring finger means you have a significantly lower risk of prostate cancer, claims a new study published in the British Journal of Cancer. The study, which builds on other research into finger length, was carried out over a 15 year period and involved more than 4,000 subjects.

The researchers, from the University of Warwick and The Institute of Cancer Research, found that men whose index finger is longer than their ring finger were one-third less likely to develop the disease than men with the opposite finger length pattern. "Our results show that relative finger length could be used as a simple test for prostate cancer risk, particularly in men aged under 60," researcher Ros Eeles said.

The most common finger length pattern, seen in more than half the men in the study, was a shorter index than ring finger. Men whose index and ring fingers were the same length (about 19 per cent) had a similar prostate cancer risk, but men whose index fingers were longer than their ring finger were 33 per cent less likely to have prostate cancer. Risk reduction was even greater in men aged under 60 years - these men were 87 per cent less likely to be in the prostate cancer group.

The relative length of index and ring fingers is set before birth and is thought to relate to the levels of sex hormones the baby is exposed to in the womb. Less testosterone equates to a longer index finger; the researchers now believe that being exposed to less testosterone before birth helps protect against prostate cancer later in life.

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Source: Prostate Cancer Research Foundation

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