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Voices Online Edition
Lent-Easter 2002
Vol. XVII: No. 1

Abortion and Breast Cancer:
A Woman's Right to Know


by Dr. Michael Bredan Flanagan and Frances M. Chew

Breast Cancer is on the rise in America. Currently one out of every 10 women in America has - or will someday get - breast cancer.

According to Dr. Joel Brind, professor of Biology and Endocrinology at Baruch College, New York, there has been a yearly increase of 10,000 cases of breast cancer in America attributable to abortion, and this number is expected to rise to 25,000 excess cases by the mid-twenty-first century.

As early as 1957, The Japanese Journal of Cancer Research published the results of a study done between 1948 and 1952 with 400 breast cancer patients and 1,700 controls. This study showed that women who had an abortion were more than twice as likely to develop breast cancer as opposed to those who had not had an abortion.

Since then, there have been 13 out of 15 studies in the United States alone and 28 out of 39 studies worldwide showing an increased risk of breast cancer in women who have had an abortion.

Any woman in the United States now has a 10% risk of breast cancer. A pregnancy carried to term cuts that risk by 50%. Abortion increases that risk by 30% on average.

Even more at risk are those who have an abortion before age 18 or after age 30. In Janet Daling's study, all of the women, who had an abortion before age 18 or after age 30 with even one family member having had breast cancer, had breast cancer before age 45.

We now need to see how abortion functions in relation to the effects of estrogen during the pregnancy in order to understand how abortion causes an increased risk of breast cancer in later life.

Many women experience a fullness in the breasts even during menses as their estrogen level surges during the pre-ovulatory stage. Within the first five days of pregnancy, estrogen levels are measurably increased beyond non-pregnant levels. Throughout most of pregnancy, the estrogen levels mount higher and higher, 20-fold by the end of the first trimester.

Estrogen hormones during the first 6 months of pregnancy prompt the breasts to produce undifferentiated cells, which only in the third trimester become differentiated by other the hormones into milk-producing cells. (The only two other instances of the rapid development of undifferentiated cells take place in the normal early development of the child in the womb and in cancer).

Induced abortion interrupts this process, leaving nests of undifferentiated cells in the breasts. The vast majority of spontaneous abortions, commonly called miscarriages, are due to abnormal pregnancies that produce very little estrogen, so breast cancer is not increased.

From puberty to menopause, estrogen is balanced each month by progesterone, so there is no abnormal growth stimulation of the breasts. In some women, however, ovulation ceases before menopause, and estrogen, acting unopposed by progesterone, can produce an abnormal growth of breast cells and therefore of breast cancer as well. Nests of immature breast cells from one or more previous abortions now pose a significantly increased risk of breast cancer.

Women need to know the facts like this - but no one's telling them. In case of any other surgical procedure, the doctor informs the patient of all the pros and cons as a matter of course. The abortionist does not. For the simplest medication in our schools, parental notification and consent is required. Not so with abortion.

Four of the fifty states have enacted laws that a woman considering an abortion must be informed of the evidence of a link between abortion and breast cancer. But what about all the other women?

Every woman, every person who might have a family member or friend involved, has the right to know that abortion is the single greatest avoidable cause of breast cancer.

For further information, visit or call the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute toll-free at 1-866-622-6237 (1-86 NO CANCER).

Dr. Michael Brendan Flanagan is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Frances Chew has an M.Phil degree from Yale University.

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