Past Study Indicates Abortion Increases Risk of Breast Cancer

Nutrition Health Review, Winter 2001 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Past Study Indicates Abortion Increases Risk of Breast Cancer


Having an induced abortion may increase a woman's risk for breast cancer later in life by nearly one third, according to a review and statistical analysis of 23 studies of women with breast cancer, which appeared in the October 1996 Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, published by the British Medical Association.

"The evidence is overwhelming," said Vernon Chinchilli, Ph.D., co-author and associate director of the Center for Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Penn State University's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where the studies were conducted. Eighteen of 23 studies indicated an increased risk in women who had an induced abortion, he said. The meta-analysis covers 23 separate studies with data on 25,967 women with breast cancer and 34,977 control patients without cancer.

"Our study documents a clear and significant link in worldwide published epidemiological research dating back to the first study in Japan in 1957," said principal investigator Joel Brind, Ph.D., professor of Endocrinology at Baruch College in New York City. "Yet most women are still in the dark: only three states require that women considering abortion be warned about breast cancer." The three states are Louisiana, Mississippi, and Montana.

Brind had researched connections between sex hormones and human disease for nearly 25 years. He said that pregnancies ending in early miscarriage--often called "spontaneous abortions"--do not expose women to high levels of estrogen. "Excess exposure to estrogen is involved in most known breast cancer risk factors," said Brind. "But in most pregnancies that end in miscarriage, estrogen levels never get off the ground, so breast cancer risk is not increased."

Abortion may result in an increased risk in young, childless women in two ways, said Joan Summy-Long, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology at Hershey. "They lose the protection of a full-term pregnancy in addition to gaining the 30 per cent risk increase from the abortion," she said.

"In normal pregnancies that do go to term, hormones secreted near the end of pregnancy modify the growth and vulnerability of breast cells, resulting in lower risk for women who have children," she said.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Past Study Indicates Abortion Increases Risk of Breast Cancer
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?