A Vital Link: Breast Cancer and Abortion

Women, Abortion, Breast, Cancer, Biology, Research, Bias

Today there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not undergoing an abortion at an early age increases the risk of breast cancer.

While this debate has been going on for a long time, there is still research being conducted by both sides.

One of the ground breaking studies is the Russo and Russo study Toward a Physiological Approach to Breast Cancer Prevention.

“A woman’s hormone level naturally changes throughout her life for a variety of reasons” [1]. One of the events that can change hormone levels is pregnancy. These changes especially occur with estradiol, progesterone (the female sexual hormones), and HCG. These changes help with breast development.

Abortion interrupts the natural process of a pregnancy, thus disrupting the hormones within the mother. This sudden drop in hormone levels, caused by abortion, leaves undifferentiated cells open for cancer to form.

The disruption suspends the natural process of maturation of many of the woman’s breast cells [2]. This process is known as “hormonal blow.”

Many scientific studies state that there is no link between committing an abortion and developing breast cancer. However, it has been found that many studies that did not find a link had serious methodological flaws [3], such as

1) Data suggesting a link between abortion and breast cancer has sometimes been omitted by researchers who are pro-choice

2) Researchers did not wait long enough for follow up

3) Some women who have had abortions have been misclassified as not having them

Additionally, studies do seem to prove that when a woman receives an abortion during her first pregnancy, it increases her chances of developing breast cancer by 1.7 times [4]. However, this can also be due to underlying health factors, not just abortion. If a woman is predisposed to breast cancer, then committing an abortion increases the likelihood of her developing cancer.

So if there is clearly evidence supporting these findings, then why do so many organizations deny it? A key reason is the media.

Those in the media tend to have a fairly liberal bias, and the findings mentioned here would destroy the public’s acceptability of abortion.

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References

[1] National Cancer Institute. (2010). “Abortion, Miscarriage, and Breast Cancer Risk.” National Cancer Institute. National Cancer Institute, 12 Jan 2010. Web. 13 Jun 2011. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/abortion-miscarriage

[2] Polycarp Research Institute. (2003). “Risk of Breast Cancer From Induced Abortion.” Polycarp Research Institute, 2003. Web. 13 Jun 2011. http://www.polycarp.org/overviewabortionbreastcancer.htm

[3] Daling, Janet., Malone, Kathleen E., Voigt, Lynda F., White, Emily, and Weiss, Noel S.(1994). “Risk of Breast Cancer Among Young Women: Relationship to Induced Abortion.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 86.21 (1994): 1584-1592. Print. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/86/21/1584.short

[4] Physicians for Life. (2011). “Need to Inform Patients of Abortion – Breast Cancer Link .” Physicians for Life, 2011. Web. 13 Jun 2011. http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/105/26/

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