Emotional stress can take a toll on your health. Some of the consequences, however, may appear a bit later in life. According to a new study published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, people who have been abused as children are at a higher risk for skin cancer.

Of the 91 patients who had basal cell carcinoma in the study, for example, those who reported having been abused by their mothers or fathers as children were more likely to develop a second skin cancer when faced with a stressful event. Researchers believe that the emotional stress lowers the immune system, which, in turn, makes people more susceptible to some cancers.

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A thorough study of the tissue from the tumors reveals supporting evidence. Based on the results, the skin cancer patients who had encountered a stressful event in the past year and who were in the top quartile for maternal abuse showed a 350-percent drop in immune system response. Meanwhile, those in the top quartile for paternal abuse showed a 140-percent drop in immunity.

Now if the immune system can’t be depended on to fight basal skin carcinoma, just how can it defend the body against more lethal forms of skin cancer? The study results clearly show that regular exposure to stress as early as your development years is associated with vulnerability to certain types of cancers. With this new discovery, learning how to manage stress becomes more important than ever, and, for those of you who are parents, making sure that your child doesn't suffer any physical or emotional abuse is made that much more necessary.

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(Photo by Corrie... via Flickr Creative Commons)

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