by Joel Brind, Ph.D.
December 1, 2007
LifeNews.com Note: Dr. Joel Brind is a Professor of Human Biology at the Baruch College, City University of New York. He is the president of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute.
October was a little different, as pink ribbons seemed to be more abundant than pumpkins. It was National Breast Cancer Awareness Month again, and for the Breast Cancer establishment — Komen Race for the Cure, the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), et al. — it’s almost like Christmas season is for Macy’s and Target.
That’s when these organizations make their big pitch for donations, and that pitch is usually some variation of the following: "(1)We don’t know what causes breast cancer, (2) most women who get breast cancer have no known risk factors for the disease and (3)there’s no cure for breast cancer, so you’d better give us all the money you can so we can find a cure before the disease gets YOU!"
The lies are numbered for the convenience of the reader, who might just be wondering why, with a such an actual, widespread, life-threatening disease, and such a genuine need for research and education about it, those dedicated to fight it need to rely on a pack of lies to raise the funds to do so.
Wonder no further, for the reason is political correctness: Most breast cancer is attributable to "women’s liberation" and the changes in childbearing patterns it has wrought. So the breast cancer advocates– like NBCC president Fran Visco are out there again in the media, decrying all the "misinformation out there," even as they spread it around it themselves.
Speaking about a new survey conducted by the NBCC, Visco told the Chicago Tribune that "we need to educate, not just raise awareness." Among the bits of "misinformation out there" according to the NBCC survey, is that "(M)ost women believe breast cancer can be prevented." Christopher Wanjek, writing for Live Science’s Bad Medicine website, actually calls this his number 3 "myth." He also calls a variation of this widespread belief: "Risk factors are mostly to blame", his number 1 "myth". He elaborates: "More than two-thirds of women with breast cancer have no known risk factors for the disease."
Here are the real facts:
1) We do know what causes most breast cancer. About half the breast cancer in the US is attributable to delaying first childbirth until after age 25 or 30, or forever. The younger a woman is when she has her first child, the lower her lifetime risk. For a pregnant teenager, the proverbial silver lining of her cloud is the fact that, if she continues the pregnancy and gives birth at term, she will reduce her lifetime breast cancer risk by at least two-thirds, compared to having her first child at age 30 or older. Breast feeding her children lowers a woman’s risk still further.
But postponing childbearing denies a woman the natural protection her children give her even while still in the womb. Even worse, what she may do to avoid childbearing adds to her risk, i.e., years of taking contraceptive steroids (be they in birth control pill, patch, implantable, injectable or ring form), and abortion.
Actually, abortion is the single most avoidable cause of breast cancer (even though Wanjek calls "Abortions cause breast cancer" his number 5 "myth").
No, that doesn’t mean that most women who have an abortion will get breast cancer, or that most women who get breast cancer have had an abortion. It just means that the effect of abortion is so strong that choosing abortion even once causes a measurable increase in breast cancer risk. Contrast this to, say, taking hormone replacement therapy or the pill, where it takes years of daily use—thousands of pills—to make a measurable difference in risk. In a normal pregnancy, a woman is exposed to far more estrogen—which stimulates the multiplication of breast cells—than any pills or normal cycles provide. If the pregnancy is not allowed to go to term (or at least 32 weeks gestation), a woman is left with more places for cancer to start. But a full-term pregnancy matures the breast tissue into cells which can make milk, but can no longer multiply. So a full-term pregnancy leaves a woman’s breasts with fewer places for cancer to start, and permanent protection against breast cancer.
2) Most women in the general population do have known risk factors for breast cancer, let alone those who actually get the disease. Just for starters, about 75% of American women have taken birth control pills, a risk factor which even the World Health Organization (finally!) acknowledges. Not to mention that a substantial proportion of American women have had an abortion.
3) Here’s some really good news: Most cases of breast cancer—about 80%—are actually cured! In fact, at least half of all newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer are stage 0 or stage 1, which are cured over 95% of the time, and without mastectomy!
Of course, the best news of all is that breast cancer is largely avoidable. Avoiding abortion is the simplest way to reduce the risk. And that’s also one reason why there really is "a lot of misinformation out there."