A doctor's concern about the abortion, breast cancer connection

by Joseph E. Kincaid, MD

A recent article in the Grand Rapids Press and MLive highlighted an advanced metastatic breast cancer in young women 25 to 39 years of age that had almost doubled in cases per 100,000 women from 1976 to 2009. However, this study, from the Journal of the American Medical Association did not look into the cause of this increase.

So we are free to speculate what factors have increased in our society over the last 30 to 40 years that might explain this increase in breast cancer. One factor to consider would be abortion that was legalized 40 years ago with Roe v. Wade. The National Cancer Institute rejected any connection between abortion and breast cancer in 2003 with a workshop that found no correlation between abortion and breast cancer. Several researchers, however, believed the conclusion was flawed because contradictory reports were not permitted.

The greatest challenge to the 2003 National Cancer Institute report came in 2009 when Dr. Louise Brinton, the chief organizer of the 2003 workshop writing in the April 2009 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, reversed herself, after further research, and reported a 40 percent increase in breast cancer in women who had had abortions. Now 56 out of 71 epidemiological studies support the abortion-breast cancer link.

In a February 2013 article from the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, the risk of breast cancer climbs based on the number of abortions the woman has had.

The abortion-breast cancer connection is especially devastating for African-American women ages 25 to 39. More than 40 percent of abortions are done on African-Americans and this disparity is shown in the rates of breast cancer in 25 to 39 year old African-Americans whose rates are more than double those of non-Hispanic white women.

The biology of pregnancy shows why abortion could cause breast cancer. This has been outlined by Angela Lanfranchi, M.D., F.A.C.S., a breast specialist at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. With the start of pregnancy the hormones needed to sustain the pregnancy increase greatly. Early in pregnancy, especially with first pregnancies, the cluster of breast cells is immature and much more prone to become cancerous. As the pregnancy continues, the cells mature becoming much more resistant to cancer.

However an abortion is like shutting down your computer by pulling the plug. This beautifully orchestrated cascading change in hormones is frustrated within minutes.

A vital part of the patient doctor relationship is the patient receiving appropriate knowledge of the risks and side-effects of the procedure or medication. Are those denying a correlation between abortion and breast cancer so sure of themselves that they are willing to shortchange young women trying to make this crucial decision of having an abortion?

What a tragedy that the young woman how facing an unwanted pregnancy may in a few years face an unwanted cancer.

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