[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 18-Jan-2010
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Contact: Graeme Baldwin
graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com
44-020-319-22165
BioMed Central

Childhood harms can lead to lung cancer

Adverse events in childhood have been linked to an increase in the likelihood of developing lung cancer in later life. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Public Health describe how the link is partly explained by raised rates of cigarette smoking in victims of childhood trauma, but note that other factors may also be to blame.

David Brown and Robert Anda, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA, worked with a team of researchers to study the effects of abuse (emotional, physical, sexual), witnessing domestic violence, parental separation, or growing up in a household where people were mentally ill, substance abusers, or sent to prison. He said, "Adverse childhood experiences were associated with an increased risk of lung cancer, particularly premature death from lung cancer. Although smoking behaviours, including early smoking initiation and heavy smoking, account for the greater part of this risk, other mechanisms or pathophysiologic pathways may be involved".

Adverse event information was collected from 17,337 people between 1995 and 1997. Brown and his colleagues followed up on the medical records of these same people to study lung cancer rates in 2005. According to Brown, "Compared to those who claimed no childhood trauma, people who experienced six or more traumas were about three times more likely to have lung cancer, identified either through hospitalization records or mortality records. Of the people who developed, or died of, lung cancer, those with six or more adverse events in childhood were roughly 13 years younger at presentation than those with none. People who had experienced more adverse events in childhood showed more smoking behaviors".

The central message of this study is that our children can be faced with a terrible burden of stressors. These stressors are associated with harmful behaviours, such as smoking, that may lead the development of diseases like lung cancer and perhaps death at younger ages. Reducing the burden of adverse childhood experiences should therefore be considered in health and social programs as a means of primary prevention of lung cancer and other smoking-related diseases.

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Media Contact
Graeme Baldwin
Press Office, BioMed Central
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3192 2165
Mob: +44 (0) 7825 706422
Email: graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com

Notes to Editors

1. Adverse childhood experiences are associated with the risk of lung cancer: a prospective cohort study
David W Brown, Robert F Anda, Vincent J Felitti, Valerie J Edwards, Ann Marie Malarcher, Janet B Croft and Wayne H
Giles
BMC Public Health (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/1199022685282662_article.pdf?random=786129

After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcpublichealth/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. BMC Public Health is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in the epidemiology of disease and the understanding of all aspects of public health. The journal has a special focus on the social determinants of health, the environmental, behavioral, and occupational correlates of health and disease, and the impact of health policies, practices and interventions on the community. BMC Public Health (ISSN 1471-2458) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, CAS, EMBASE, Scopus, Current Contents, FSTA, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.



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