Study: Abortion, Hormonal Contraceptives Influence Breast Cancer Risk
By John Jalsevac
Sept. 8, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A paper published this week in the journal, The Linacre Quarterly, by Angela Lanfranchi, MD shows how different pregnancy outcomes influence breast cancer risk. According to Lanfranchi, 52 years of research has pointed to the fact that abortion, as well as hormonal contraceptives, can significantly increase the risk of breast cancer.
Lanfranchi is the Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the president of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute.
"In utero, (the mother's) offspring produce hormones that mature 85 percent of the mother's breast tissue into cancer-resistant breast tissue," explains Lanfranchi. This accounts for the protective effect of full term pregnancy (FTP) that experts universally recognize.
Delayed first full term pregnancy (FTP) is associated with a temporary risk increase because it lengthens the period during the reproductive years when nearly all of the breast lobules are immature and cancer-susceptible and exposed to the cancer-causing effects of estrogen during menstrual cycles. However, in terms of lifetime risk, says Lanfranchi, the mother will eventually benefit from the protective effect of FTP, provided it lasted at least 32 weeks.
Short pregnancies that end before 32 weeks (except for first trimester miscarriages) leave the breasts only "partially matured" and "with more places for cancers to start."
"Induced abortion is a recognized cause of premature birth… and prematurity more than doubles breast cancer risk if it is before 32 weeks," she observes.
Most first trimester miscarriages, however, do not raise risk according to Lanfranchi, because "inadequate levels of the pregnancy hormones" during an abnormal pregnancy do not stimulate breast growth and "leave the mother's breasts unchanged."
Lanfranchi also points out that among women experiencing breast cancer during pregnancy, those who had FTPs had the longest survival rate in comparison to women who miscarried and had "slightly shorter survivals," and those who chose abortion and had the "shortest survivals."
However, "There is data that suggests that a woman who has a complete pregnancy and lactates within five years of an abortion has a lower risk of breast cancer than if a woman waits more than ten years before her first child is born."
In addition, hormonal contraceptives containing "estrogen- progestin combination drugs prescribed in any manner of delivery: orally, transdermally, vaginally, or intrauterine, increase risk."
On the other hand, breastfeeding reduces risk "in proportion to the length of breastfeeding."
Lanfranchi concludes: "There is a well-known and documented physiology supporting both induced abortion and hormonal contraceptives as risk factors for breast cancer. Yet these risks are largely unknown to women seeking family planning services. Without this knowledge, women cannot make informed choices when they are faced with the choice of an induced abortion or life for their child and the use of hormonal contraceptives."
"Women suffer tremendously when 'breast cancer awareness groups' keep us in the dark about breast physiology, especially when millions unwittingly damage their health by choosing abortion and combined hormone replacement therapy," said Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, about Lanfranchi's findings.
"We encourage the public to send Dr. Lanfranchi's paper to the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Ask them if they can find any inaccuracies concerning the physiology presented in her paper. Challenge them to defend their position in the customary way - before their peers - by stating their objections in a letter to the editor of the medical journal."
Lanfranchi's paper is entitled, "Normal breast physiology: The reasons hormonal contraceptives and induced abortion increase breast cancer risk," and is available here.