Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

"The Buzz" Continued...

Issue: "Pro-baby," Jan. 30, 2010

Abortion-cancer linkage

An April 2009 study on the link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer subtly shifted the language on the abortion-breast cancer link. The study, published in the April issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, named abortion as a "known or suspected risk factor" for breast cancer and also stated that this conclusion was consistent with earlier studies. But that's not what this study's co-author, Louise Brinton, has always said. Brinton organized the National Cancer Institute 2003 workshop that eventually claimed that according to current research, having an abortion "does not increase a woman's subsequent risk of developing breast cancer."

Now, her 2009 paper maintains that abortion is a "known or suspected risk factor" and that this is consistent with what earlier studies found. Joel Brind, professor of biology at Baruch College, said Brinton should address the inconsistency: "Here we have a direct contradiction between what the NCI says officially and what she says in the study. . . . You say essentially, 'It doesn't exist,' and then you say, 'Oh yes, we found it and that's in line with what earlier studies have found.' How do you explain that?"

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