A California candidate for Congress walked back his statements affirming the abortion breast cancer link recently. This created disappointment among some of his supporters. Although as a breast cancer surgeon who has studied the issue almost 20 years and has no doubt that induced abortion raises the risk of breast cancer, I can’t say I don’t understand this candidate’s predicament.
After all, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) denies it. The NCI even had a well publicized 2003 three day conference with 100 scientists that concluded that there was no link between abortion and breast cancer.
And yet, that wouldn’t be the first time the American people were misinformed by the NCI. One only has to remember that the Director of the NCI is a political appointee by the U.S. President. Although the first study linking cigarettes to lung cancer was published in 1928, it was not until 1964 that the U.S. Surgeon General warned the public of the risk. The NCI was not the first to warn the public. You see, the tobacco state Senators pressured the NCI not to publicize the link because they feared it would destroy their states economies.
More recently, although the United Nation’s International Agency on Research of Cancer (IARC) published Monograph 91 in 2005 listing oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy as Group 1 carcinogens for breast, cervical and liver cancer, there has been no warning to the 12 million American women on oral contraceptives. Put another way, over 10 million women are taking a Group 1 carcinogen for a non disease, fertility. Not only that, our Federal government’s policy is to broaden their use by making them free under “Obamacare”. This policy is inexplicable given the NCI’s own statistics that show a 400% increase in the risk of non-invasive breast cancer among young, premenopausal women since 1975. Population control for a “green” ecology friendly world trumps women’s health and women’s lives. That’s the real War on Women.
In 2005, the British journal Nature published a disturbing study in which over 3,000 scientists who had been funded by the National Institutes of Heath (NIH) were asked to anonymously answer 10 ethical questions. Over 20% of mid-career scientists reported that they had “changed the results, methodology or design of a study based on pressure from a funding source”. They committed scientific fraud due to governmental pressure of the NIH, the funding source, of which the NCI is a member.
The California candidate also succumbed to political pressure to disavow those that are tarred as junk scientists, members of the flat earth society and right wing extremist ideologues who want to scaremonger women in desperate circumstances to forgo their reproductive health care needs.
The candidate did not know that since 1957 there have been 70 studies that differentiate spontaneous from induced abortion (3 in 2012 alone) and that 33 were statistically significant and 55 showed a positive correlation confirming a link between abortion and breast cancer.
Just think about what we do know about breast cancer risk reduction. We know that a birth in the 3rd trimester will reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer. In fact, we’ve known that since the 1700’s. We know that the younger a women gives birth, the lower her risk for breast cancer. In fact, her risk of premenopausal breast cancer increases 5% for each year she delays her pregnancy past 20 years old. When a woman has an abortion, she is already pregnant. Abortion not only denies her of the risk reduction from giving birth but also delays her next pregnancy thereby increasing her risk. And if she remains childless for her entire life, her risk is also increased compared to if she gave birth. During the first half of pregnancy in preparation for breast feeding, the breast doubles in size by increasing the amount of immature cancer vulnerable breast tissue. Most of this tissue does not become cancer resistant until the third trimester. Aborting a pregnancy before the third trimester leaves a woman’s breasts with more tissue or places for cancers to start, thereby increasing her risk for breast cancer.
Thus the scientific studies, what we know and don’t dispute about known risk factors and the biology of breast changes with pregnancy all support the abortion breast cancer link.
What about the 100 scientists that supported the 2003 NCI denial of the link? I think Einstein said it best when he was asked his thoughts about a book of 100 essays each by a physicist who denied relativity. He said, if relativity was not true, “it would have only taken one.”