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  • Logan Pratt

Study Finds Correlation Between Hand Size, Face Size, and Increased Likelihood of Cancer Diagnosis

Doctor looking at man's hand.

Everyone has heard the old playground adage, "if your hand is bigger than your face, you have cancer.” One team of researchers from the University of Iowa Department of Oncology investigated this striking correlation between hand size, face size, and the probability of an individual receiving a cancer diagnosis in the days or weeks following. In their 200-page dissertation released on Monday, researchers found a surprising correlation between an individual's hand having a diameter measuring 2-5 centimeters larger than that individual’s face and an increased likelihood of cancer being discovered in the body.

Dr. Rahma Eilshek, lead researcher and tenured professor at the University of Iowa, recently came off of a study looking into the correlation of an individual using eyecups, a piece of plastic meant to provide comfort to a person’s eye while using cameras or microscopes, and an increased likelihood of urinary tract infections. This previous study found a correlation between individuals using these “eyecups” and subsequently urinating what Dr. Eilshek called “an assorted array of aesthetically pleasing, some would call ‘pretty’, colors in their pee.”

Now, Dr. Eilshek is turning her attention to the phenomenon of hand size in relation to face size being a reliable indicator for a cancer diagnosis.

“At first, I couldn’t believe what the data was telling us,” Dr. Eilshek said in an interview. “But one thing I’ve learned in my years of research is that just because the data is surprising or contradictory to previously held beliefs or knowledge, that should not mean the data should be dismissed. And what we have found is that yes, if your hand is larger than your face, you should see your doctor right away, because there is a high possibility that you do have cancer.”

We sat down with Dr. Eilshek to try and understand the scientific basis for this macabre phenomenon.

“When an individual has cancerous cells in the body,” Dr. Eilshek explained, “there is a natural immune response within the body itself. Cortisol is released, and the immune system is activated to try and fight off the dangerous cells. This leads to an inflammatory response that tends to enlarge and swell the limbs of the body, especially the hands and fingers. This will in turn cause the hand itself to become larger. Interestingly, the facial tissues seem to be unaffected by this inflammatory response, so the face is a good benchmark for measuring whether or not the hand size has increased.”

Dr. Eilshek recommends children and adults regularly screen themselves for cancer using their hand as a measuring tool. Simply hold your hand in front of your face, and have someone else, such as your little brother or your childhood bully, determine whether or not your hand has enlarged so much as to overtake the face in size.

Dr. Eilshek has received numerous accolades and recognition for her work, but now has her sights set on bigger and better research. For her next project, Dr. Eilshek plans to look at the relationship between choosing not to ride that super duper scary roller coaster at the amusement park, and an increased likelihood of being a female reproductive organ. More on this story as it develops.


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