ICR Logo An astonishing link between finger length and threat for developing prostate cancer recently came into the limelight. A recent study commenced by The University of Warwick and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) claims that men with long index fingers have lower chances of prostate cancer. It was asserted that having index finger longer than ring finger declines risk by one third than with the opposite finger length pattern.

The study carried out from 1994 to 2009 included more than 1,500 prostate cancer patients and almost 3,000 healthy control cases. Study subjects were made to view a series of pictures having different finger length patterns. Authors then asked the participants to distinguish the one most identical to their own right hand. More than half the men in the study reported a shorter index than ring finger. Apart from being the most common finger length pattern, length too was similar in 19 percent men. These volunteers probably had a similar prostate cancer risk. On the other hand, subjects whose index fingers were longer than their ring finger apparently had 33 percent less chances of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Professor Ros Eeles from the ICR and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and joint senior author, commented, “Our results show that relative finger length could be used as a simple test for prostate cancer risk, particularly in men aged under 60. This exciting finding means that finger pattern could potentially be used to select at-risk men for ongoing screening, perhaps in combination with other factors such as family history or genetic testing.”

Risk reduction appeared even greater in men above the age of 60 years and they had an 87 percent lower prostate cancer threat. The relative length of index and ring fingers is set before birth is may associate to levels of sex hormones the baby is exposed to within the womb. Presumably less testosterone seems to be equal to a longer index finger. It is assumed that exposure to low testosterone before birth safeguards against prostate cancer later in life. This is possible because of the genes HOXA and HOXD, which regulate finger length as well as development of sex organs. It was concluded that the hormone levels that babies are exposed to in the womb may create an impact decades later.

The study is published in the British Journal of Cancer.