What the length of your fingers says about your health

By: Mohan Garikiparithi | Cancer | Friday, September 11, 2015 - 03:30 PM

What the length of your fingers says about your healthWhen it comes to health there are many myths that continue to float around (the shoe size and a man’s penis size for starters – sorry that hasn’t been proven!). Although many tall-tales have emerged, when they become backed by science and data they become hard to refute. Case in point – new findings now support finger length being linked with prostate cancer risk.

The theory goes: if a man’s ring finger is longer than his index finger, he has a higher chance of developing prostate cancer. If it seems foolish it’s because the results are not simply that black and white, but conclusions do show that there is a link between finger length and prostate cancer risk.

Link between finger length and risk of prostate cancer

Link between finger length and risk of prostate cancerA 2011 study analyzed data from 1,500 patients with prostate cancer, along with 3,000 healthy individuals as a control. The study spanned over 15 years. The findings revealed men with a longer index finger compared to their ring finger saw a reduction in their prostate cancer risk by 33 percent.

In alternative research the findings were quite opposite, meaning when the ring finger was longer than the index finger the risk of prostate cancer was higher. So what are we supposed to believe, or are they both just myths?

The common trend between both findings has less to do with which finger length is greater and more to do with genes; HOX genes to be exact.

HOX genes are responsible for the development of the body. In the womb HOX genes guide development of organs like the prostate and kidneys and extremities like your fingers.

Although it is still unclear how HOX genes connect with estrogen and androgen – hormones known to play a part in the development of cancer – it is known that estrogen is linked with the length of the index finger. Translation: a low ratio between the index and ring finger means more estrogen was present prior to birth.

The goal for researchers, then, is to uncover how hormones interact with HOX genes as a means to combat prostate cancer.

How to prevent prostate cancer

How to prevent prostate cancerUntil researchers uncover the connection between hormones and HOX genes, we can look to the length of our fingers for guidance. Until this connection is found there are other tips and preventative measures you can practice to lower your risk of prostate cancer, such as:

  • Eat a low-fat diet.
  • Eat more fat from plants as opposed to animals.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat fish.
  • Reduce the amount of dairy you consume on a daily basis.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Know your risk – speak with your doctor to determine other risk factors you may have which increase your risk of prostate cancer, and what you can do to lower your risk.


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