Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

Breast Cancer and Abortion: The Facts

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
Dr Angela Lanfranchi is a breast cancer surgeon, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and clinical assistant professor of surgery at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. She is presently on a speaking tour of Australia. Below are some excerpts of an interview, recorded recently in Physicians For Life. In 1993 Dr. Lanfranchi began to study the link between abortion and breast cancer. ÒIn the first six months I had two patients in their 30Õs with breast cancer; one had had seven pregnancies and six abortions, the other five pregnancies and three abortions. I continued to see more and more young women with a history of abortion, developing breast cancer. Of course, I may have been witnessing a statistical fluke.Ó A year later, Dr. Janet Daling published a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showing that teenagers younger than 18 who had abortions between 9 and 24 weeks had nearly a 30 per cent chance of getting breast cancer in their lifetimes. The US National Cancer Institute's web page on reproductive risk informs women there are studies that show this link. In 1996, City University of New York Professor Joel Brind published his meta-analysis, which revealed 23 of 28 studies showing a link between abortion and breast cancer. This was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Consequently, Brind was accused of being a Òfear-monger.Ó Dr. Lanfranchi: ÒMany people ask me about first trimester miscarriage. This is quite different, in its effect on the woman's breasts, from induced abortion of a normal pregnancy. Miscarriages do not increase breast cancer risk, since they are associated with low oestrogen levels that do not cause breast growth. However, when pregnancy is terminated before the breast cells reach full maturity, a woman is left with more immature type 1 and 2 breast lobules (milk glands) than before her pregnancy started, and therefore is at increased risk. Her breasts never mature to type 3 and 4 lobules, which would have occurred in the third trimester and would have lowered her risk. Ideology should not prevent the dissemination of this information. Australia's breast cancer organisations are not helping women exercise informed consent when they deny them this knowledge. There are three legal actions in the US by women who were not told of the link before having an abortion.Ó Again, Dr. Lanfrachi: ÒIn my practice, I see young women with small children die of breast cancer. If the information I give patients can prevent a single death from a completely avoidable risk, I will gladly pay the price of being labelled a fear-monger.Ó (Gleaned from information forwarded to me by Dr. G. Kenyon of Mitchell)

What a blessing it is to have physicians who are still willing to give us the facts about breast cancer as it related to abortion.

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