Abortion-breast cancer link disproved

Abortion doesn't increase the risk of breast cancer, an international group of researchers reports today, backing up a similar conclusion a year ago by the National Cancer Institute that followed years of controversy.

A few studies in the early 1990s had suggested such a link, theorizing that women who terminate pregnancies are exposed to harmful estrogen levels early in the gestation period without the protective hormonal benefits in later stages of full-term pregnancies. The National Cancer Institute, an arm of the federal government, had maintained that there were no data connecting abortion to breast cancer — until the fall of 2002, when it changed its Web site to say the evidence was inconclusive. Some said the change was made by the Bush administration, under pressure from abortion opponents, who wanted women considering an abortion to be notified of the possible risk, inform ajc.com

The group reviewed data from 53 studies done in 16 countries between 1973 and 1997, which included 83,000 women who had breast cancer diagnosed.

Debate over whether there is an abortion-breast cancer link has raged for more than a decade, touched off largely by a 1996 review of 23 studies that suggested there was a significant increase in risk to women who did not bring a pregnancy to term, report startribune.com

According to Dr. Valerie Beral, Epidemiologist, University of Oxford, UK, one of the lead authors of this paper, the study looked at 90% of the world’s studies on breast cancer, abortion and miscarriage.

This topic has been controversial among experts. Some said there was a link while others insisted there wasn’t.

The most reliable studies were of a "prospective" design and accounted for 44,000 women. These studies looked at abortion records of women before they had breast cancer and followed them up. The rates were then compared to those of women in the general population.

They found no link at all between abortions, miscarriages and breast cancer when they were examined as a group, according to medicalnewstoday.com

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