The Abortion-Breast Cancer Link: Fabrication or Fact?

Author: Mike Richmond

The Abortion-Breast Cancer Link: Fabrication or Fact?

In the great A-B-C (Abortion-Breast-Cancer) debate people want to know how many studies have come to a 'firm' YES (i.e. induced abortion increases breast cancer risk) and how many studies come to a 'firm' NO. Dr. Joel Brind is a breast cancer researcher at City Universtiy of New York and is an advisor to Americans United for Life.

Here is his score card:

ELEVEN studies come to a 'firm' (i.e. 95% confidence) YES ONE study comes to a 'firm' NO; it claims induced abortion decreases breast cancer risk

Since many news sources have been handing readers the line that 'some say "YES" and some say "NO" and thus it is all very inconclusive and women should receive no warnings about POSSIBLE A-B-C', readers may be suprised by the ELEVEN to ONE score.

For those who want more specific details, the following is taken from the booklet Abortion-Breast Cancer Act Legislative Guide:

Myth 1 The ABC link is unproven.

Fact One study alone does not prove anything. Although only one study has made the national headlines (Daling et al., 1994), the ABC link has been established by many epidemiological studies since 1957.

Of a total of twenty-seven published reports which represent twenty- two separate studies on induced abortion and breast cancer, seventeen show induced abortion to be associated with increased breast cancer risk, and eleven with statistical significance (95% certainty):

Segi et al., 1957; Pike et al., 1981; Nishiyama, 1982; Le et al., 1984; Ewertz & Duffy, 1988; Howe et al., 1989; Laing et al., 1993; White et al., 1994; Daling et al., 1994; Lipworth et al., 1995; Rookus & van Leeuwen, 1995; Newcomb et al., 1995.

The other six studies, which show increased risk, but not statistically significant, are: Watanabe & Hirayama, 1968; Dvoirin & Medvedvev, 1978; Brinton et al., 1983; Hirohata et al., 1985; Rosenberg et al., 1988; and Andrieu et al., 1994.

Of the other five studies, two show no tendency toward increased or decreased risk: Moseon et al., 1993 and Brinton et al., 1995; two show a slight, but not significant, tendency toward decreased risk: Parazzini et al., 1991/La Vecchia et al., 1993 and Lindefors-Harria et al., 1989 [see Myth 6]/Adami et al., 1990 (two adjacent studies indicate published reports of the same study or reliance on the same population); and only one study shows a significantly reduced risk: Burany, 1979. Thus, the epidemiological data are overwhelmingly one- sided.

It is noteworthy that virtually all risk factors are not universally observed. For example, some studies show no association with family history of breast cancer (e.g., Hirohata et al., 1985), even though this factor is universally acknowledged to be one of the strongest risk factors for breast cancer."

The preceding "Myth 1" was from the booklet Abortion-Breast Cancer Act Legislative Guide. To get your copy of this outstanding guide, write to:

Americans United for Life 343 S. Dearborn (1804) Chicago, Illinois 60604-3816 You can include a $10 donation)

by Mike Richmond Vancouver, Canada