Kids who are frequently abused by their parents can elevate a child’s cancer risk in adulthood. This trend is seen higher in daughters who are abused by their mothers. Abuse includes constant belittling, shaming and humiliating a child, exposure to violence or abuse of others (emotional); severe disciplining, such as corporal punishment (physical); and failing to provide for a child’s basic needs – adequate food, clothing, hygiene, or supervision (neglect).
Researchers have found that despite the perception that children tend to ‘bounce back’, studies have found that these events can lead to long-term consequences. “In this case, people who were frequently emotionally or physically abused by their parents were more likely to have cancer in adulthood. Overall, the more frequent and intense the abuse, the more it elevated the cancer risk,” said Ferraro. “We would like to see child abuse noted as an environmental factor that can increase cancer occurrence in adulthood. More research on this topic also could help mediate the effects or improve interventions to help abused children,” he added. The study started with examining a variety of childhood misfortunes, including abuse. They found that men with most stressors during childhood were more likely to develop cancer later in life. “Other studies have shown that if a mother smokes, the daughter is more likely to smoke, and the same relationship is found when sons mirror their father’s behaviour,” Morton said. “More research is needed, but another possibility is that men may be more likely to physically abuse their sons, and mothers are more likely to physically abuse their daughters,” added Morton. Abuse was one of many childhood misfortunes – including poverty, loss of parent and family educational status – that researchers examined to determine if there was a link to cancer in adulthood.