Breast Cancer Expert: Women Don’t Have to Have Abortion When Diagnosed

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 10, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Breast Cancer Expert: Women Don’t Have to Have Abortion When Diagnosed

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 10
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A leading expert on breast cancer says the results of a recent study showing women who are diagnosed with cancer don’t have to choose between an abortion or treatment doesn’t surprise him. Dr. Joel Brind, a Baruch College professor says studies have shown that for decades.

On Monday, reported on a new study showing doctors don’t need to suggest an abortion to pregnant women who want cancer treatment.

The study involves a concept called pregnancy associated breast cancer — breast cancer that is diagnosed when a woman is pregnant or within a year after delivery.

The mainstream media highlighted the study as if it showed a new concept, somehow finally dismissing the notion that pregnant women undergoing breast cancer treatment should have an abortion.

Professor Brind tells that the notion has been a myth for decades and the study merely confirms what he and other experts already knew.

"Actually, this finding has been reported many times in the last 15 years," Brind explained.

"Unfortunately, many doctors still recommend abortion for women diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant, so that they can treat the cancer more aggressively. This is despite worldwide research going back as far as the 1930’s that shows that so-called ‘therapeutic abortion’ substantially shortens lifespan, whereas carrying the pregnancy to term makes long-term cure more likely," he said.

Brind says that a 1976 review of all studies published to that point, conducted by French doctor P. Juret, reported that, “The futility of therapeutic abortion is now certain.”

Although the study isn’t the revelation the mainstream media claimed, Brind says it is quite useful.

"What the new story out of MD Anderson shows is that women in this particular situation — which are only about 3% of all breast cancers — have no worse a prognosis than women with the same stage of breast cancer who are not pregnant," he said.

"But what is most important about the current report is the absence of any data about abortion, i.e., a difference in prognosis as a function of whether or not the pregnant patient aborts the baby," he explained. "To their credit, doctors at MD Anderson have, for at least the last several years, been very good at treating both patients: Mom and her unborn child."

"Hopefully, the current report will be yet another nail in the coffin of ‘therapeutic abortion,’" he told

Finally, Brind took issue with the headline the Associated Press used for its story: “Study: Pregnancy does not boost risk of breast cancer."

"This AP headline is misleading, because it suggests that pregnancy has nothing to do with the risk of getting breast cancer," he explained.

"Of course, pregnancy is the most significant exposure in determining breast cancer risk: Women who have their first child when they are young, have several children and breast feed them all; women who have no children, or wait until they are over 30, have fewer children and do not breastfeed, have the highest risk," Professor Brind said.

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