Surgeon Says Abortion Ups Breast Cancer Risk, Pregnancy Helps Lower It

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 8, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Surgeon Says Abortion Ups Breast Cancer Risk, Full-Term Pregnancy Helps Lower It

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 8
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A prominent breast cancer surgeon and professor has written a new article for a medical publication saying that abortion increases a woman’s risk of contracting breast cancer. On the other hand, miscarriage has no effect while a full-term pregnancy lowers the breast cancer risk.

Dr. Angela Lanfranchi is a surgeon who deals with breast cancer and is also a Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and president of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute.

She published a paper this week in the medical journal Linacre Quarterly that shows how different pregnancy outcomes influence breast cancer risk.

Citing 52 years of breast cancer research, she said the evidence shows that, during pregnancy, unborn children "produce hormones that mature 85 percent of the mother’s breast tissue into cancer-resistant breast tissue."

This accounts for the protective effect of full term pregnancy (FTP) that experts universally recognize.

According to Lanfranchi, a delayed first FTP is associated with a temporary risk increase because it lengthens the period during the reproductive years when nearly all of the breast lobules are immature and cancer-susceptible and exposed to the cancer-causing effects of estrogen during menstrual cycles.

However, in terms of lifetime risk, the mother will eventually benefit from the protective effect of FTP, provided it lasted at least 32 weeks.

At the same time, the physician says short pregnancies like abortions that end before 32 weeks, except for first trimester miscarriages, leave the breasts only "partially matured" and "with more places for cancers to start."

"Induced abortion is a recognized cause of premature birth…. and prematurity more than doubles breast cancer risk if it is before 32 weeks," Lanfranchi writes.

Most first trimester miscarriages do not raise risk because "inadequate levels of the pregnancy hormones" during an abnormal pregnancy do not stimulate breast growth and "leave the mother’s breasts unchanged."

Lanfranchi explains in greater detail how carrying a pregnancy to term is so beneficial for women as opposed to having an abortion.

Among women experiencing breast cancer during pregnancy, those who had FTPs had the longest survival rate in comparison to women who miscarried and had "slightly shorter survivals," and those who chose abortion and had the "shortest survivals."

Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, a women’s group that informed the public on the link between the two, tells that anti-cancer groups need to acknowledge this.

"We encourage the public to send Dr. Lanfranchi’s paper to the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure," she said.

"Ask them if they can find any inaccuracies concerning the physiology presented in her paper. Challenge them to defend their position in the customary way – before their peers – by stating their objections in a letter to the editor of the medical journal," she added.

Lanfranchi’s paper is entitled, "Normal breast physiology: The reasons hormonal contraceptives and induced abortion increase breast cancer risk."


Lanfranchi, A. Normal breast physiology: The reasons hormonal contraceptives and induced abortion increase breast cancer risk. The Linacre Quarterly 2009;76:236-249. Available here.

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