Many people assume that children can bounce back from the physical and mental effects of trauma like physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse – they just need time. However, a new study has found that the consequences of many forms of childhood trauma could have further-reaching effects than many previously believed. In fact, a history of child abuse could mean a greater risk of cancer later in life.
According to U.S. News & World Report, a new study has shown an association between child abuse and adult cancer rates. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Purdue University and published in the Journal of Aging and Health, found that adults were at a significantly higher risk of tumors if they were abused as children – and that the more significant the abuse, the more likely they were to suffer from cancer.
The study, which examined 2,100 adults across the United States who were participating in the National Survey of Midlife Development, found that those most at risk for cancer after child abuse were daughters abused by their mothers or sons abused by their fathers. However, the researchers at Purdue’s Center for Aging and the Life Course stressed that their study focused on correlation, not causation.
What can we learn from this connection between adult cancer after child abuse? Researchers say that the data suggests that physical abuse and sexual abuse may have a bigger, more complex effect on children than we previously thought.
The research team that worked on this study is now examining the relationship between child abuse and heart attacks.