Mayo Clinic Tells Women No Link Between Abortion and Breast Cancer

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 13, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mayo Clinic Tells Women No Link Between Abortion and Breast Cancer Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 13, 2006

Rochester, MN ( — The influential Mayo Clinic is advising women that there is no link between abortion and breast cancer — a conclusion that flies in the face of numerous studies showing the link between the two. The advice comes in a response posted on Mayo’s web site in reply to a question from a Wisconsin woman.

"There’s no credible evidence of a link between induced abortion and breast cancer," Dr. Sandhya Pruthi wrote the woman on behalf of Mayo’s web site.

As proof, Mayo cites the National Cancer Institute, but the organization has come under fire as politically charged and relying more on the political beliefs of leading officers there than scientific studies.

Pruthi goes on in her response to say that some studies have shown a link between abortion and breast cancer. It cites a "large meta-analysis" compiled by Dr. Joel Brind and other researchers in 1996.

They conducted a synthesis of all the major studies done in the field to that time and concluded that women who had an abortion before their first term child had a 50% increased of developing breast cancer while women who had an abortion after their first child sustained a 30% increased risk.

They published their findings in an article in the October 1996 edition of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Without offering any further explanation, Mayo told the Wisconsin woman "this study has been widely criticized for flaws in its design that may have affected the conclusions."

Yet the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in England wrote in 2000 that "the Brind paper had no major methodological shortcomings and could not be disregarded."

Instead, the Dr. Pruthi cited more recent population-based studies from the Netherlands and Sweden that May said "found no link between induced abortion and breast cancer.’

Pruthi touted the population-based studies saying they are "considered a more accurate way to examine such an issue."

However, the 2003 Sweden study the Mayo Clinic refers to has its own problems as it relied on an incomplete set of patient records, according to the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute. In a factsheet regarding the study, BCPI says records about abortions women had after their first childbirth were not included in the study’s data and the study should be thrown out as a result.

Of the 41 studies which have been previously published, 29 show increased risk of breast cancer among women who have chosen abortion. According to the BCPI, some 16 of those studies are statistically significant.

In total, eight medical groups recognize an independent link between abortion and cancer, including the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which says the abortion-breast cancer link is "highly plausible."

The Mayo Clinic response also ignored the results of the most recent study, where researchers at the German Cancer Research Center found a woman’s risk of contracting breast cancer is lowered and the decrease is more substantial the more pregnancies a woman has had.

ACTION: Contact the Mayo Clinic with your comments about its denial of the abortion-breast cancer link. You can provide your input by going to:

Related web sites:
Breast Cancer Prevention Institute –
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons –