“Federal government Senate leader Eric Abetz was attacked last night – essentially for mentioning breast cancer and abortion in the same sentence,” FamilyVoice research officer Ros Phillips said today. “But his detractors seem unaware of the latest research from Asia, where breast cancer rates – until recently quite low – are now soaring.
“Western commentators often suggest that the reason is that Asian women – typically slim, teetotal, with several breastfed children – are now adopting Western ways. However recent breast cancer studies conducted in countries such as India, China, Bangladesh and Turkey consistently show that while obesity, alcohol and hormonal contraception are breast cancer risks, one of the biggest risk factors is one or more induced abortions earlier in life.
Ros Phillips said she contacted Bangladesh researcher Dr Suraiya Jabeen last year about her study in this area.
“Dr Jabeen and five others from the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh 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,” Ros Phillips said.
“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.”
Ros Phillips said that this finding, along with nearly 80% of the other 74 breast cancer risk studies conducted worldwide since 1957, was not reported in mainstream media in Australia. Nor were similar recent studies from China, India, Turkey and Sri Lanka.
“The common factor in most breast cancer risks apart from family history is excess exposure to oestrogen,” she said. “Abortion is no exception, because oestrogen levels rise steeply during pregnancy. Their cancer potential is not neutralised until the last two months of pregnancy when the breast lobules mature to become milk producers. Interrupting the pregnancy before that stage increases the breast cancer risk. The exception is an early miscarriage, commonly caused by low oestrogen levels.
“I am aware that this truth is inconvenient for Western feminists – but the studies speak for themselves,” Ros Phillips said. “Even the large Danish Melbye study, which purported to find no abortion/breast cancer risk, would have done so had the data been correctly recorded. Melbye did not include many cases of abortion performed before 1970, in women who developed breast cancer later on. Melbye did include many cases of abortion performed shortly before the end of the study – in women too young to have yet developed any cancer.
“Australian women deserve to know these facts,” Ros Phillips said.
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