Cancer treatment and prevention could be more accurately directed to those most at risk due to the insight provided by a recent study.
Researchers at the University of Toronto have found a correlation between physical abuse in childhood and the onset of cancer in later life.
Due to be published in the July 15th issue of the journal Cancer, the study reveals that adults who have experienced childhood physical abuse are 49 per cent more likely to develop cancer when they become adults.
A co-author of the report Sarah Brennenstuhl, who is a doctoral student at the University of Toronto, commented: "One important avenue for future research is to investigate dysfunctions in cortisol production - the hormone that prepares us for 'fight or flight' - as a possible mediator in the abuse-cancer relationship."
According to the children's charity NSPCC, 3,400 children in the UK were subject to a Child Protection Plan in 2008 due to having suffered physical violence.