by Steven Ertelt
March 16, 2008
Little Rock, AR (LifeNews.com) — Two Arkansas-based oncologists are the subject of criticism from a national group that educates the public on the abortion-breast cancer link. The doctors claimed there is no link between abortion and breast cancer and they relied on disproven research to make the claim in an interview with the Arkansas Times.
Laura Hutchins, the director of hematology/oncology for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences was one of the interviewees.
While she told the newspaper she is a Catholic and opposed to abortion, she appeared confident in her claims about the link.
My assessment is that there does not appear to be a definite increased risk, she said, pointing to an article in the medical journal Lancet claiming no link exists.
There’s a lot of literature that says there is an increased risk, Hutchins said, but you can find a lot of literature that finds all sorts of things.
Dr. Kent Westbrook, a surgery professor at UAMS says he’s confident there is no link.
I have a lot of confidence in the scientific process, he said.
We see what we want to see, he said of pro-life researchers who have proven a link
Yet he pointed to a politically-charged National Cancer Institute workshop where all but one researcher said no link exists.
But Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, tells LifeNews.com the doctors need to brush up on their research, saying "They are either liars or they are uninformed."
Malec said Hutchins is relying on a Lancet study that has been criticized for its errors in at least five medical journals.
In the 2004 Lancet study, scientists used unscientific reasons (i.e., they couldn’t locate original authors of some studies) to toss out 15 published, peer-reviewed studies reporting an average 80% breast cancer risk elevation after abortion.
"Then they added 28 never-published, never-peer-reviewed studies to their review. The unpublished studies represented most of the research included in the supposed review," Malec said.
It’s not just the pro-life sources that are accusing the medical establishment of covering-up the abortion-breast cancer link. Allegations are being made in medical journals, Malec explained.
She highlighted an article written in the March 2008 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons by Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, a New Jersey-based breast cancer expert.
Lanfranchi accuses scientists like the two at UAMS of ignoring the well-established link between abortion and breast cancer.
Lanfranchi, a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center, said they are "participating in the suppression of information about the heightened risk of breast cancer posed by oral contraceptives and induced abortion."
Westbrook said abortion is not a cancer-related issue, but that exogenous and external hormone stimulation and hormone replacement therapy raise risk. Malec says there’s little difference.
"The biological reasons for the cancer risk of hormone replacement therapy are the same as the biological reasons for an abortion-breast cancer link," she said.
"It’s about the effects of estrogen overexposure in the presence of progesterone on cancer-susceptible tissue. 85% of the breast lobules become cancer-resistant during the last months of full term pregnancy," Malec explained.
In 1996, Dr. Joel Brind of Baruch College and other researchers conducted a synthesis of all the major studies done in the field to that time.
They concluded that women who had an abortion before their first term child had a 50% increased risk of developing breast cancer while women who had an abortion after their first child sustained a 30% increased risk.
Related web sites:
Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer – https://www.abortionbreastcancer.com