Indian study: Abortion raises breast cancer risk over 6-fold
MANIPAL, India, July 2, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A study published in the Indian Journal of Community Medicine (May, 2013) found a 6.38-fold greater risk of breast cancer among Indian women with histories of induced abortion.
Study leader Ramchandra Kamath of the Department of Public Health, Manipal University, observed that India has the “largest estimated number of breast cancer deaths worldwide,” and that breast cancer ranks second only to cervical cancer as the most common diagnosed malignancy among Indian women.
Although the study cohort included only 188 participants (94 cases and 94 controls), which the researchers acknowledged limited the "generalisability of the findings," U.S. expert Dr. Joel Brind said the small study does strongly reconfirm that higher rates of abortion lead to increased risk of breast cancer.
“With only 94 cases and 94 controls, the study was way too small for a significant risk of the order of 1.5-fold to even show up,” said Professor Brind in a statement to the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer. “Yet induced abortion did show up as the strongest risk factor (and right on the border of statistical significance) because the risk increase was so high at 6.38-fold.”
Dr. Brind is a professor of endocrinology at Baruch College, City University of New York and a recognized expert in research into the links between abortion/contraception and breast cancer.
Dr. Brind said he found it “troubling that the abortion-breast cancer link is now showing up big time in the world’s most populous countries where breast cancer used to be rare. That means millions upon millions of women will die from this deadly after-effect of abortion. Consider that between India and China, we're talking about over a billion women. If only 1% of them get breast cancer due to abortion, that's still 10 million women, of whom at least 2 or 3 million will die from it!”
The study also reported significantly higher risk of breast cancer for the women with higher levels of education (greater than 7 to 12 years), a non vegetarian diet, age at menarche of more than 13 years, and age at first child birth more than 30 years.
“Medical texts acknowledge delayed first full term pregnancy is a risk factor for breast cancer,” said Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer. “It’s indisputable that abortion contributes to delayed first full term pregnancies; and in some cases, women remain childless forever, which is also an accepted risk factor.”
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The researchers also found women who had more than two children were found to have significantly lower breast cancer rates.
Of the breast cancer cases in the study, 65 of the women had two or fewer children, while 27 of the women had more than two children.
According to the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, scientists have found that when a woman becomes pregnant she acquires protective cells from her child - a process called fetal cell microchimerism - that remain with her for decades, perhaps till the end of her life, and that help the mother's immune system fight off infections and disease.
Researchers have also discovered that a baby’s fetal cells show up more often in a mother’s healthy breast tissue and less often in a woman who has breast cancer (43 versus 14 percent). They hypothesize that the baby’s fetal cells have a beneficent purpose: to protect, defend, and repair her for the rest of her life, especially when she becomes seriously ill.
“There’s a lot of evidence now starting to come out that these cells may actually be repairing tissue,” said professor Carol Artlett, a researcher at Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University.
Ramchandra Kamath and his team of researchers at Manipal University concluded that their findings concurred with a 2006 Indian study, led by Manjusha Rai, that found a “significant association between abortion and breast cancer.”
The full text of the Ramchandra Kamath study is available here.
The Manjusha Rai study, titled “Assessment of epidemiological factors associated with breast cancer,” is available here.
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