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How Exposure to Child Abuse Increase the Risk of Cancer

Exposure to violence always has negative impacts and if the exposure begins as a children, the result will be more unfortunate than expected. The violence occurring as a child is known as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and they include all kinds of factors that affect one's emotional, physical, and psychological development, such as child neglect, mental illness, sexual abuse, etc. And around 1 billion children around the world experience some form of ACEs annually, which reveals why people around the world have to acknowledge the significance of preventing child violence around the globe.


So how does exposure to ACEs lead to cancer?


Well, Adverse Childhood Experience can be identified into scores through the number violences experienced and if the score is over 4, it will lead to serious health conditions due to the build-up of toxic stress. If this stress becomes chronic, there will be modification in the epigenetic, which refers to change in the gene expression due to the environmental factors, like exposure to violence in this case. Because there are changes in the gene expression, some parts of our body will dysfunction and fail the repair processes that cells normally go through. Chronic toxic stress can impact our body in so many ways, such as increasing the heart rate, the blood pressure, and activating the central nervous system (CNS). What this CNS does is that they release stress-induced hormone, called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), and they would release the CRF receptor, which only begins its function when when the body is involved in stress, addiction, or psychological disorders. Then, they would emit another type of hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which releases the main stress-related hormones, such as cortisol and aldosterone. These stress-related hormones mediate the stress factors that occur due to the exposure of violence, like increased heart rate and blood pressure. And the stress factor, Cortisol, is mainly contributing in this system because they normally control the inflammation of cells, which prevent from tumor cells spreading. However, if cortisol malfunctions, cells can cause mutations and tumor cells will proliferate, which is one of the main reasons why cancers occur in the body. And because cortisols can be malfunctioned with abundant amount of toxic stress, exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences can eventually lead to cancer.


The reason why I am writing about this is for all of us to acknowledge the significance of preventing child abuse around us, because children are the future leaders of our world. Even in South Korea, one of the safest countries in the world, various child abuses occur as stories about ACEs appear on news frequently and those children are losing their chances to spread dreams because of their closest family members, friends, or neighbors.


To conclude, I wish all the readers look carefully in our daily lives and be the hero, so that we can make our world a better and safer place to live.


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