By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

ISTANBUL, July 28, 2009 ( – A study conducted by Dr. Vahit Ozmen and his colleagues at the Istanbul University Medical Faculty reported a statistically significant 66% increase in breast cancer risk among women who had induced abortions. The researchers wrote that their finding is similar to the findings of the “majority” of studies, which have “reported that induced abortion was associated with increased breast cancer risk.”

However, the study also found that spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) and the use of oral contraceptives was associated with the decreased risk of breast cancer – a finding that the researchers said contradicts the results of numerous other studies, necessitating further study.

The researchers conducted a survey among women admitted to clinics of the Istanbul Medical Faculty for examination and/or treatment of cancer related illness. The results were compared with control cases admitted to hospital for non-cancer, non-hormone related diseases.

The report was published in the online medical journal World Journal of Surgical Oncology.

With regard to the finding of decreased risk of breast cancer for oral contraceptives users, the researchers observed that their study results were at odds with many epidemiologic studies which found that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and oral contraceptive use are directly related to increased breast cancer risk.

The World Health Organization and the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) acknowledge that use of combined (estrogen + progestin) OCs and combined HRT increase risk of breast cancer.

“In the present study, we found that use of oral contraceptive use was associated with decreased breast cancer risk,” the report states. “However, these results were not dose and duration dependent. Therefore, further studies are required to test the consistency of our findings.”

While the researchers suggest that the study group was fairly representative of the general population, with over 80% of patients admitted to Istanbul Medical Faculty Hospital residing in the Istanbul area, they admit that a hospital based study has the potential for bias: the reason being that hospitalized individuals are more likely to suffer from many illnesses or symptoms.

“We are aware that this hospital based study has some potential such as selection biases and information bias,” Dr. Ozmen acknowledged.

Dr. Joel Brind, professor of endocrinology at Baruch College, City University of New York and a director at the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, commented that while Dr. Ozmen’s findings were consistent with extensive research on the abortion/breast cancer (ABC) link, the team may actually have underestimated Turkish women’s breast cancer risk associated with abortion, due to the selection bias mentioned by Ozmen.

According to Brind’s hypothesis, a disproportionate number of “modern” women were likely represented among the controls, a group more likely to use HRT and OCs, have abortions and visit the hospital often for minor complaints.

By contrast, a disproportionate number of “traditional” women were represented among the patients; women less likely to use HRT and OCs, have abortions and visit the hospital (except in cases of serious illness, like breast cancer).

Dr. Brind concluded that, “the simple operation of selection bias that explains the contrary results of the study (lower risk in OC and HRT users), suggests that the results obtained for induced abortion likely represent an underestimate of the true ABC link in the Turkish population.”

Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer echoed Dr. Brind’s statement on the ABC link. She cautioned that mainline medical journals may not publish the Turkish study results because of an agenda-driven campaign to suppress results of ABC research.

“Although the NCI, the nation’s largest funder of cancer-research, and others have worked feverishly to suppress the ABC link by publishing fraudulent research and even leaning on scientists whose studies have shown risk increases among women who have abortions, honest research occasionally escapes the NCI’s purview,” Malec said.

See related LSN articles:

Abortion-Cancer Link Cover Up by U.S. National Cancer Institute Says Bioethics Journal

Russian News Agency Slams American Press for Denying Abortion Breast Cancer Link

Chinese Breast Cancer Deaths Jump 40% since One Child Abortion Policy

New Study Shows Abortion is ‘Best Predictor of Breast Cancer’