University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Child Abuse Might Be Linked to Cancer

Chances of developing health problems are greater for childhood abuse survivors

Prof. Esme Fuller-Thomson has published 28 papers linking childhood trauma to adult health problems, including cancer and heart disease – the top two leading causes of death in Canada. She found that abuse survivors had significantly higher odds of contracting the majority of physical and mental health conditions she studied (many of which are listed below), even after she adjusted the results for health behaviours, income, education and mental health conditions. Individuals who are physical abuse survivors, for example, had 1.45 times the odds of developing cancer in comparison to their peers who are not abuse survivors.

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