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Abortion linked to high breast cancer risk

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By Jimmy Downs

Saturday Nov 24, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Once again a new study in Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention confirms that induced abortion can increase risk of breast cancer.

Induced abortion has been known to be a risk factor for breast cancer as found in many epidemiological studies.  And abortion increases the risk because it leaves the breast tissue at a stage that is vulnerable to the detrimental effect from estrogen and other cancer causing agents and promoters.

C. Yanhua of the First Peoples' Hospital of Kunming in Yunnan province, PR China and colleagues found the abortion-breast cancer association after comparing data from 263 cases of breast cancer and 457 controls without the disease who attended the authors' hospital from 2009 through 2011.

Considered in the study was information on disease diagnosis, demographics, medical history, and reproductive characteristics variables obtained either from the patients or from the hospital.

In addition to abortion, short menstrual cycle, old age at first live birth, never breastfeeding, history of oral contraceptive use, postmenopausal status and nulliparity.

Old women were at higher risk than young women for breast cancer.   The researchers found that perimenopausal women were 3-fold more likely and postmenopausal women were 5-fold more likely, compared to premenopausal women to develop breast cancer.

In the same journal,  A. R. Jiang of Jiangsu Province Institute of Cancer Research in Nanjing, China and colleagues conducted a case-control study of 669 cases and 682 population-based controls in Jiangsu Province and also found the link between abortion and increased risk of breast cancer.

Jiang et al. found premenopausal women who had induced abortion three or more times were 141 percent more likely to develop breast cancer and the risk increase was still 55% after adjustment for other factors.

Among postmenopausal women, one abortion was associated with 104% increased risk for breast cancer and the risk increase due to abortion was still 82% after adjustment for confounders.  

And repeated abortion led to higher risk of breast cancer compared to a single abortion.

However, spontaneous abortion was not associated with breast cancer.

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