Abortion is not considered one of the breast cancer risk factors, which include age, obesity, and family history. Research has found no link between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer. While a small batch of studies may suggest a possible connection, an overwhelming amount of research indicates otherwise.
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Published online 26 March Nature doi Helen Pearson.
Epidemiology, like any branch of medical science, functions within a social and historical context. That context influences what questions are asked, how they are investigated, and how their conclusions are interpreted, both by researchers and by the public. The international debate over whether abortion increases breast cancer risk, which has been the subject of many studies and much heated controversy in recent decades, became so intensely politicized in the United States that it serves as a particularly stark illustration of how elusive the quest for scientific certainty can be.
A friend recently posted on her Facebook profile that she saw the bumper sticker "Abortion causes breast cancer," and she wanted to know if there was any truth in that statement. I, of course, chimed in that no, that statement is not true. Then I wondered, "Who the hell puts a bumper sticker like that on their car?
A Mexican wave of moral indignation swept through the chattering class this month when the hypothesis was raised of a link between abortion and breast cancer. With the arrival this week of breast surgeon and cancer researcher Dr Angela Lanfranchi to speak to this hypothesis, we can expect a resurgence of this rage. Yet no such public frenzy occurred when the closest male equivalent — a correlation between vasectomy and prostate cancer — was proposed only last month.
Donate Resources Had an abortion? Ad sponsors. Note : Not all women who develop breast cancer have had an induced abortion nor do all women who have an induced abortion develop breast cancer.
This summary table contains detailed information about research studies. Summary tables are a useful way to look at the science behind many breast cancer guidelines and recommendations. Learn how to read a research table.
Back to Cancer. The story implies that the study looked at individual data to come up with this association. The story is based on a study that used a mathematical model that was developed to forecast the number of breast cancer cases in the future.
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STUDY OBJECTIVE: To ascertain, from the published reports to date, whether or not a significantly increased risk of breast cancer is specifically attributable to a history of induced abortion, independent of spontaneous abortion and age at first full term pregnancy or first live birth ; to establish the relative magnitude of such risk increase as may be found, and to ascertain and quantify such risk increases as may pertain to particular subpopulations of women exposed to induced abortion; in particular, nulliparous women and parous women exposed before compared with after the first full term pregnancy. Since some study data are presented in more than one report, the 28 reports were determined to constitute 23 independent studies. Overall induced abortion odds ratios and odds ratios for the different subpopulations were calculated using an average weighted according to the inverse of the variance. An overall unweighted average was also computed for comparison.