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Two leading women’s magazines are misleading readers about the connection between abortion and breast cancer, an activist group contends.
Last month it was Glamour, said Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, “This month, it’s Redbook, and it’s Redbook’s second attempt to erase the link from the public mind.”
Redbook’s October issue includes an interview with Marissa Weiss, M.D., founder of the cancer fundraising business, breastcancer.org.
Weiss said, “Two recent research reviews have found that abortion doesn’t alter hormone levels in a way that could increase breast cancer risk, as some activists have claimed.”
Prof. Joel Brind of Baruch College called Weiss’ statement “sheer nonsense.”
Scientists agree that a woman who has an abortion has a greater risk than one who has a baby, he asserted.
The third trimester process protects a woman from estrogen overexposure and matures her breast tissue into cancer resistant tissue, Brind explained.
Scientists debate whether her risk is greater than what it would have been if she’d never had that pregnancy, he pointed out.
“I do not know of any reviews – recent or otherwise – which have ever made such a ridiculous claim,” Brind said. “Of course abortion alters hormone levels in a way that could increase breast cancer risk – it terminates the pregnancy!”
It is indisputable, Brind says, that an abortion terminates all the hormonal changes that occur with pregnancy, including those which cause breast maturation and decrease breast cancer risk.
“What is in dispute is whether or not the changes induced by the pregnancy up until the time of abortion, i.e., the stimulation of rapid growth of breast tissue, is strong enough and long-lasting enough to increase the risk of breast cancer beyond what it would have been in the absence of pregnancy at all,” he said. “The overwhelming majority of valid epidemiological evidence says it does.”
Angela Lanfranchi, M.D., associate professor of surgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center, agreed that Weiss’ statement revealed a misunderstanding of the biological reason for the link.
Weiss denied that contraceptive pills increase risk, but the World Health Organization acknowledged that combined oral contraceptives are “carcinogenic to humans.”
These findings support an abortion-breast cancer, or ABC, link, Lanfranchi said.
“Any doctor that denies the ABC link is either lying or is uninformed,” Malec said. “These repeated attempts to mislead women about the research are despicable. The individuals who’ve participated in this cover-up are directly responsible for cancer deaths.”