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News Article

Abortion is a breast cancer risk (shhh!)
Friday, August 8, 2014

by Ros Phillips

A recent Newspoll survey of 1200 Australian women found that many of them believe that major breast cancer risk factors include food additives, underarm antiperspirants and stress.

“Horsetwaddle!” said journalist Tory Shepherd (The Advertiser, 30/10/13).  She correctly reported that three significant breast cancer risks (apart from certain genes, being a woman and over 50) are being overweight, not exercising, and drinking alcohol.

But Tory failed to mention that the underlying factor in all three risks is overexposure to the female hormone oestrogen. 

The oestrogen factor

Not exercising/being overweight is a breast cancer risk because fat cells secrete oestrogen.  Drinking alcohol, even just one or two standard drinks daily, is also risk.  Alcohol interferes with the breakdown of oestrogen in the liver, so there is more oestrogen floating around in the bloodstream.

Hormonal contraception and hormone replacement therapy are breast cancer risks when used long-term, because they are based on chemical compounds similar to oestrogen. 

But there’s another oestrogen risk as well: an interrupted pregnancy.

During pregnancy, oestrogen levels soar, making the breasts grow.  One reference I consulted said that a woman is exposed to more oestrogen during pregnancy than her total exposure during the rest of her non-pregnant life.

In a first pregnancy, all breast lobules are immature and vulnerable to cancer.  When they multiply under the influence of oestrogen, there is a greater chance that one or more lobules will later turn cancerous.  This risk is greatly lowered by the end of the pregnancy, when the lobules mature to become cancer-resistant milk-producers.  Having a baby before the age of 30, and breast feeding the baby, are protective factors for breast cancer. 

Full-term pregnancy protects

But if an abortion is performed before the last two months of pregnancy, the mother is left at increased risk of cancer because the breast lobule maturing process has not occurred. 

The most dangerous abortions are those performed on a first pregnancy, years before the mother gives birth to a full-term baby.  Teenage girls who abort their first pregnancy, then take hormonal contraception for an extended time, are at greater risk than most other women.

Of course, journalists don’t report this in the mainstream media.

They don’t even report the increasing number of recent studies showing a strong link between an induced abortion and breast cancer a decade or more later.

Study in Bangladesh

On 15 August 2013, FamilyVoice Australia circulated a media release about a new study by Dr Suraiya Jabeen and five others from the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  The study matched 262 women with breast cancer with 262 women of similar age and background without breast cancer, and looked at factors that may be linked with the disease. 

Bangladesh is a poor, Muslim country.  Most Bangladeshi women are slim, have several children at a young age, and breast feed them.  They drink little if any alcohol.  Bangladeshi breast cancer rates have been historically low.

But that is fast changing.  In the last ten years or so, breast cancer rates in Asian nations have been on the rise, and in younger women than ever before, despite low rates of obesity and alcohol consumption.  But a new factor is abortion – freely available at women’s health clinics.  Dr Jabeen told me that abortion is the preferred method of birth control in her country.

The Jabeen study found that women who have a family history of breast cancer, or smoke, or are overweight, are more likely than others to suffer breast cancer in mid-life.  But Jabeen found that biggest risk of all was in women who had previously had an abortion.  Of the 262 women with breast cancer, 88% had previously had an abortion.  Of the 262 women in the control group without breast cancer, only 27% had previously had an abortion. 

An inconvenient truth

Amazingly, this study was reported on ABC radio – but not the way you might think.

ABC radio stations in at least two Australian states called in science guru Dr Karl Kruszelnicki to comment on the Jabeen study.  He promptly damned it.  “The Dhaka research was not published in a peer-reviewed journal!” he thundered. 

But this and other shortcomings could not alter the fact that far more Bangladeshi women with breast cancer had a history of abortion than those in the cancer-free control group.  For Dr Karl, this truth was apparently inconvenient.  He also ignored other recent studies in peer-reviewed journals showing the same thing – including China, where abortion linked with the one-child policy has ushered in an epidemic of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is particularly devastating for Western women, since it deeply affects their sense of feminine identity.  If not detected early enough, the cancer can also kill them.

So why is there a deadly silence on the abortion/breast cancer risk?  I think you may already know.



  • Human life and dignity

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