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A federally funded study showed a link between abortion, contraceptive use and breast cancer. So why is news about it coming out now, nine months after its release?
BY TIM DRAKERegister Senior Writer
SEATTLE — Though research confirming
a strong connection between the use of oral contraceptives and a particularly
aggressive form of breast cancer has been public for nine months, some people
are asking why news about it is just coming out now.
They say the mainstream media and
cancer groups have been silent about the connection.
The study, authored by Jessica Dolle
and other researchers at the Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research
Center, appeared in the April 2009 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers
It shows a strong connection between
the use of oral contraceptives and the deadly “triple-negative breast cancer.”
The study found that the connection was
highest among women who began using
oral contraceptives while they were teenagers.
the study was published nine months ago, the National Cancer Institute, the
American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and other cancer
fund-raising businesses have made no efforts to reduce breast cancer rates by
issuing nationwide warnings to women,” said Karen Malec, president of the
Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer.
more women will die of breast cancer if the NCI fails in its duty to warn about
the risks of oral contraceptives and abortion and if government funds are used
to pay for both as a part of any health-care bill,” Malec said.
cancer is the leading cancer in women and the most common cause of cancer death
for U.S. women age 20-59. Yet, according to several cancer researchers, women
are being denied information that could help prevent one of breast cancer’s
Dolle study showed that women who start using oral contraceptives before the
age of 18 multiply their risk of triple-negative breast cancer by 3.7 times.
Recent users of oral contraceptives within the last one to five years multiply
their risk by 4.2 times.
the study is noteworthy because it contained an admission of the link between
abortion and breast cancer by the National Cancer Institute, which, in 2003,
had concluded that “induced abortion is not associated with an increase in
breast cancer risk.”
NCI website basically says that oral contraceptives are minimally risky, yet
the paper found that the risk of TNBC increased by 150% for women under age 45
who had used oral contraceptives,” said Dr. Chris Kahlenborn, an internist at
Altoona Hospital in Pennsylvania.
Abortion-Breast Cancer Link
the study showed a 40% risk increase for women who have had induced abortions.
One of the study’s tables listed abortion as a “known and suspected risk
factor.” Previously, the National Cancer Institute had said that abortion was
not a credible risk factor.
explained the link.
the beginning of pregnancy there are great increases in certain hormone levels
(e.g. estrogen, progesterone, and hCG) that support pregnancy,” Kahlenborn
said. “In response to these changes, breast cells divide and mature into cells
able to produce milk. Abortion causes an abrupt fall in hormone levels, leaving
the breast cells in an immature state. These immature cells can more easily
become cancer cells.”
Brind, professor of biology and endocrinology at Baruch College of the City
University of New York, described both findings as a “bombshell.”
paper provides clear support for the existence of the abortion-breast cancer
link,” said Brind.
National Cancer Institute did not return the Register’s calls and has released
a “no comment” in response to the findings.
least eight medical organizations recognize the link between abortion and
breast cancer. They include the Catholic Medical Association, National
Physicians Center for Family Resources, the American Association of Pro-Life
Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, the
Polycarp Research Institute, MaterCare International, and the Breast Care
2006 meta-analysis of 39 studies, conducted by Kahlenborn and others, was
published in the Mayo
Clinic Proceedings. It found
that 21 out of 23 retrospective studies showed a 44% increased risk of breast
cancer in women who took oral contraceptives prior to their first pregnancy.
All of that study’s authors agreed that women should be told of the potential
risk of premenopausal breast cancer prior to commencing oral contraceptive use.
noted that the National Cancer Institute website cites a 1996 Oxford pooled
analysis to claim that contraceptives show little increased risk.
analysis used older data and included older women,” said Kahlenborn. “By
ignoring the most recent and comprehensive meta-analysis, they are clearly
citing outdated data, and women are being denied information in this
preventable risk factor.”
2005, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified oral
estrogen-progestogen contraceptives as carcinogenic to humans.
James Cerhan, who works in the Division of Epidemiology at the Mayo Clinic
College of Medicine, said that more research is necessary to provide more
definitive evidence. He did, however, stress the need for close evaluation of
oral contraceptive use before a first full-term pregnancy.
Parenthood has repeatedly stated that its position is that “abortion poses no
demonstrated health risks.”
link between induced abortion and breast cancer is a theory whose principal
promoters oppose abortion regardless of its safety,” say Planned Parenthood
Affiliates of New Jersey.
Catholic Medical Association disagrees.
a resolution approved in 2003, the Catholic Medical Association stated, “Whereas
29 out of 38 worldwide epidemiological studies show an increased risk of breast
cancer of approximately 30% among women who have had an abortion … be it
resolved that the Catholic Medical Association endorses the passage of state
legislation to require abortionists to inform all women of their future
increased vulnerability to breast cancer.”
Drake is based in