Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health



First Committee Member

Anthony J. Blake

Second Committee Member

Nicole Kolm-Valdivia

Third Committee Member

Patrick Maloney


Objective: To determine the association between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and cancer diagnosis based on ACE exposure levels.

Methods: We utilized data collected in the 2022 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. The study population (n=54,148) was restricted to states that reported on the optional model of experiencing ACEs and those who responded about cancer diagnosis. A univariate analysis, bivariate analysis and a multivariate logistic regression were performed. Odds of cancer diagnosis among those with differing ACE exposure levels were calculated.

Results: High ACE exposure had 20% higher odds of cancer diagnosis when compared to low ACE exposure. White, non-Hispanics, females, those over the age of 65 and those who reported poor overall health had the highest odds of receiving a cancer diagnosis.

Conclusions: ACEs were significantly associated with a cancer diagnosis, as high ACE exposure was positively associated with increased risk of cancer diagnosis. However, there may not be a direct link between ACEs and cancer diagnosis. Further research needs to be conducted regarding the biological and behavioral pathways that exist between ACEs and cancer.