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Fight breast cancer – by speaking out against abortion

Few of those campaigning against the awful disease wish to mention one of its possible causes

By on Monday, 18 June 2012

Pink balloons raise awareness of breast cancer in Seoul, South Korea (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Pink balloons raise awareness of breast cancer in Seoul, South Korea (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Every so often I receive a round-robin email headed by a list of other women also emailed, in which I am charged with passing on the urgent request to find a cure for breast cancer. The latest I received last week showed a picture of a pretty little girl toddler wearing a T-shirt with the slogan, “Find a cure before I grow boobs.” It is a very good cause and I am sure that much medical research is going on around the world with this specific aim, even as I type this. Because it is so common, we all know someone who has died of breast cancer; indeed, a very dear friend of mine lost her battle with it some years ago, leaving three young sons.

So why do I pause before pressing the “Forward” button to send on the message of this obvious good cause? Because what these round robins never say is “Spread the word! There is a proved link between induced abortion and breast cancer.” In other words, the sadly high rates of breast cancer would drop significantly – if there were fewer induced abortions.

Of course, there are other factors in breast cancer, such as childlessness, delaying first pregnancy, age and genetic inheritance. And of course we all hope for a cure. But as Dr Angela Lanfranchi, a breast cancer surgeon and co-founder of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute in New Jersey, writes in an edited extract from a new paper entitled “The Abortion and Breast Cancer Link”, that has been published in Endeavour Forum Inc newsletter for May 2012:

“In the past 30 years, landmark advances in the developmental and molecular biology of the breast coupled with repeated epidemiological studies from around the world have more and more tightly linked induced abortion as an independent risk factor in breast cancer, ie that induced abortion before 32 weeks gestation will change the breast in a way that makes it more likely to develop breast cancer.”

She goes on to state that research shows that “Induced abortion increases a woman’s risk of premature delivery… In 2006, the Institute of Medicine listed induced abortion as an immutable cause of premature birth in its publication on prematurity… [because] during an abortion the cervix is forcibly dilated and subjected to injury. Due to use of instruments such as dilators during an abortion she may have a premature delivery in subsequent births. If the premature delivery is before 32 weeks, she will have an increased risk of breast cancer.”

I wonder how many of the millions of young, confused and frightened women who every year seek advice on their pregnancies come away unaware of the medical dangers of abortion – dangers that may come back to haunt them in later life.

  • LocutusOP

    I didn’t know about the 32-week gestation point.

    Knowing that now, the realist (pessimist) in me fears that those advocating for the killing of unborn children would much rather use that figure to raise the legal limit up to and even after the birth of the child.

    Still, I like your thinking, Mrs. Phillips, and I’ll try to remember your exhortation if I should ever find myself in a similar scenario.

  • Jeannine

    One reason the abortion industry is still around: It’s a $1,000,000,000+ business & that’s only in the United States. Need I say more.

  • Blackspiderjunk

    PRobably because this sresearch has been discredited.

    IT’s just not true.

  • theroadmaster

    Sorry, not so.  Just wishful thinking on your part, as the medical evidence builds up showing the pathological harm that abortions are causing women, as well as the moral toxicity of the destruction of life in the womb 

  • JByrne24

    The medical writer and surgeon (a breast surgical oncologist), whose recent book is discussed here by Ms Phillips, has been an active anti-abortion campaigner for some years.
    I know nothing of this woman’s [the book's author] level of skill as a surgeon, cutting out cancerous tumours from beasts, but I do know that her ability as a statistician and data analyst has been called into question, and that her hypothesis (for that is all it is), that abortion can be a cause of breast cancer, has been discredited by the relevant professional medical associations in the USA, Canada, Australasia, Europe (including Britain) and by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    “The abortion–breast cancer hypothesis has been the subject of extensive scientific inquiry, and the scientific community has concluded that abortion does NOT cause breast cancer. This consensus is supported by major professional medical bodies around the world, including the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in Great Britain.”

    I do hope that any woman reading this silly article, and who may have been caused unnecessary distress and anxiety by it, is reassured by the above FACTS.

    On a more general line, I believe that this is yet another example of misguided Catholics endeavouring to spread falsehoods which seem to them to suit their own narrow purposes, and to seek to ensure conformity to their own moralising beliefs by attempting to scare the living daylights out of other people.

    YES, let’s fight breast cancer (suffered by about 1 in 9 women, and 1 in 300 men) – but also let’s do it by funding and encouraging genuine research.

    It is shameful, I think, that Ms Phillips didn’t, apparently, look for the facts before posting this article.

  • JByrne24

    Yes, just so. Please see my own comment.

  • Acleron

    First the background. Lanfranchi wrote her diatribe as the president of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute. This organisation was formed by a Joel Brind. Brind is a pro life supporter. He had a chance to convince the scientific community of any link between breast cancer and abortion and failed.

    Lanfranchi’s article references several studies which are supposed to show such a link. The latest of these studies was published in 1996, so this is hardly new information.

    A more balanced and up to date review of the scientific consensus can be found at:- 

    ‘Studies showing an association used recalled information in populations in which induced abortion had a social or religious stigma, differential reporting of prior abortion by breast cancer patients, and controls. Trials conducted in social environments where abortion is accepted, however, have not shown an association with breast cancer.’

    So it appears the anti-abortion lot have been indulging in cherry picking, a common technique when the evidence does not support your position.

  • Finton Stack

    Sorry, this is utter nonsense. Any purported link between abortion and breast cancer (let alone that abortion is one of the latter’s major causes) has been dicredited again and again. This kind of fearmongering, flagrant disregard of evidence, and exploitation of a terrible disease, to  forward your political agenda is nothing short of disgraceful.

  • Guest

    There is no solid medical research that shows any link between breast cancer and abortion. This is in fact nothing more than a common scare tactic used by the anti-choice lobby. Always the same tired, old lies.

  • Guest

    Dr Angela Lanfranchi – a well-know pro-life advocate. Not really surprising that her research claims abortion is bad.

  • anarchic teapot

    ‘what these round robins never say is “Spread the word! There is a proved link between induced abortion and breast cancer.”’

    Because there isn’t. It’s a lie invented by extremists to muddy the debate. There are good arguments against abortion, but breast cancer isn’t one.

  • Guest

     A good solution to that would surely be free abortions for all?

  • lollard

    “moral toxicity”

  • Guest

    Dr Lanfranchi, the woman who also thinks the pill causes breast cancer…

  • JByrne24

    QUOTE: “Sorry, not so.  Just wishful thinking on your part, as the medical evidence builds up showing the pathological harm that abortions are causing women”

    This is a blatant and shameful lie.

    Readers  -  especially women who might be disturbed by this  -  please  read some other posts, and do a little simple research which will show you that the post by theroadmaster (above) is pure, nasty invention.

    I quote here a few lines on one of my postings:

    “The abortion–breast cancer hypothesis has been the subject of extensive scientific inquiry, and the scientific community has concluded that abortion does NOT cause breast cancer. This consensus is supported by major professional medical bodies around the world, including the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in Great Britain.”

  • JByrne24

    Need you say more?

    Yes. Your comment is a disgrace.

    ANY medium scale human activity – especially in the US concerning any medical matter  - involves considerable amounts of money.

  • Slowlywormz

    A lot of medical procedures make a great deal of money, especially in the United States. That doesn’t mean that is the only reason they exist, or that they should be illegal. Industry is necessary so that society can function. Nothing about those aspects of the business is objectionable.

    A lot of people pay for a lot of things which others find morally wrong. That can’t be helped.

  • face_of_weevil

    If you draw your conclusions from the one pseudo-paper on a anti-abortion website (which incidental cites Catholic Bishops) then you know you are peddling superstition not science!

  • Russ_q

  • Drumbuie

    If abortions caused breast cancer, so would miscarriages. I have yet to see any link between termination of pregnancy, whether induced or not, and breast cancer. Abortion is actually less dangerous to the mother than carrying a baby to term  (here are some maternal mortality rates – see the dismal performance in the US The most ironic thing about this is that usually the people who are most strongly pro-life when the life is a fertilised egg or foetus are also pro-war and pro-capital punishment. When does life stop being sacred? 

  • theroadmaster

    Yes “moral toxicity” as epitomized socially by abortion, which has undermined and polluted the respect for life for the most vulnerable lives in the womb.

  • Mariefoulston

    How dare you. How dare you litter the Internet with such malicious false information to further your own believes and political ideologies. this is a subject particulary close to me at the moment after having an abortion myself last Friday.

    This has been a very confusing and emotional time for me and a time when I and others need most to be able to find trying to find real support and factual information about what we are going through. But posts such as this have made the Internet a minefield of abuse & lies to the point that I have instead had to search for information regarding miscarriage in order to boycott this sort of post.

    You have not helped me, you are not helping others, you are only serving your own moral agenda. You are providing a perverted distortion of ‘advice’ at a time when women need it the most.

    ‘Scaring’ women into making a decision is a horrific thing to do. Alongside the tidal wave of ‘post abortion stress syndrome’ I’ve had to wade through everyday which is nothing more than a political lobbying tool dressed up the same as this.

    You have no idea the damage this does & I am thankful I know better than to buy into this, but fear for those more impressionable than I. really how very very dare you push your religion, politics onto people through your pseudo science.

  • theroadmaster

    No lie, There seems to be a hidden political agenda on the part of some public bodies and institutes which represent medical interests in the US and GB to play down the effects of induced abortions, as a factor in the increase of breast cancer in the last 4 decades.  Other factors include genetics, dietary changes, synthetic hormones in modern contraceptives etc.  The evidence is mounting and the following site shows that studies  conducted in different countries (e.g. Sri Lanka and Turkey),  point to induced abortion as one of a number of factors contributing to the increase of breast cancer-

  • JByrne24

    There is no “mounting” evidence whatsoever, other than pure fabrications in your own head.

    I assume you believe that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and all the relevant Medical Colleges and professional medical associations across the world are (all) taking part in this “hidden political agenda”.

    Yes we all know that there are politico-religious organisations saying the opposite – all grinding their axes. But this is NOT a matter for them to comment on, let alone to preach about. This is a matter for the aforesaid experts and the community of authoritative, competent bodies to examine and decide upon.
    This community “has concluded that abortion does NOT cause breast cancer.”

  • JByrne24

    Bravo. Well said!


  • Acleron

    Conservapedia is not exactly a reliable source but lets look.

    First sentence
    ‘The vast majority of scientific studies have shown that abortion causes an increase in breast cancer, including 16 out of 17 statistically significant studies.’

    The reference for this is Karen Malec. 

    And the consensus over her publication? Its bunkum.

    She just makes assertion without evidence that you have just repeated.

    The trouble with believers trying to do science from their belief is that it is the antithesis of scientific method. Science works by trying to explain observations. Believers only collect evidence if it coincides with their belief and conveniently ignore all evidence that contradicts it. This behaviour is common to belief systems, woo merchants suffer the same problems. Similarly, when confronted with incontrovertible conclusions to the contrary they also fall back on weak conspiracy theories.

  • Alastairsmith

    You should be ashamed of yourself. Read a basic biology textbook with an elementary chapter on genetics.


    My new favourite website.

  • Beatrice

    Oh, right, Endeavour Forum Inc. newsletter. I’ve heard of that rigorous, peer-reviewed journal.

  • Lewispbuckingham

    Just managed to read through the article.Beautifully argued.She thinks there is a link between an induced abortion at an early stage and subsequent increased rates of breast cancer in young women, possibly in older women that are primaparous.She finds that the work that demonstrates there is no link is subject to various types of errors, and that apart from having these corrected there should be a multifactorial meta study done to make sure we are advised of the different and potential causes of breast cancer.
    This is very remeniscent of the present debate about ‘anthropogenic global warming’.Two weeks ago a major study by the CSIRO, to be released at a climate talkfest in Rio, was found to be analysed by the wrong statistical alogrithm.Not by the authors, the reviewers, the peers or the publisher, but by amateurs who are just following the science.Its been pulled.
     One of the remedies of these problems is to ensure that all raw data is kept independently for retrospective and independant appraisal.
     Another is to insist that peer reviewers check the original data and reprocess it to ensure there is no induced bias.Double blind reviewing has been promoted to control the “buddy system’ and halo error.
    It was only in 2002 that the major cause of the scourge of breast cancer ,HRT, was found.Before that the medical profession was dishing out sex hormones to menopausal women because the studies showed it was “safe’.The court cases continue,with individual settlements to ensure that there are no punative damages, a feature of the US system.It is interesting to note that megestrol acetate is a potent hyperplastic agent of breast tissue in the cat, leading to metaplasia and mixed adenocarcinoma, ie breast cancer.Its use was declared unethical by US vets in the eighties, in the cat.
     So why mention this?Whoever you are you have to follow the science.This author gives good cogent arguments why she may be right.Why not, if you are so inclined to disagree, giver her her way and prove her wrong.
     Just as a footnote some good may be coming out of the climate debate for science itself.It is being suggested that all publicly funded research have the original data archived in a different place than the original funded institution, so that it can be independently looked at.

  • JerryMander

     Therefore it must cause breast cancer? Brilliant

  • Jackie Parkes

    miscarriage is a natural occurrence not in any way similar to violent abruption of a pregnancy by surgical or pharmaceutical means..

  • Kay

    There simply isn’t evidence to back this up, and as someone who was diagnosed with breast cancer in her mid-30s (never, not that it’s relevant, having had an abortion) I find this sort of scare-mongering nauseating. If you have a point to make about abortion then make it. But don’t use your views on abortion to ignore scientific evidence and spread a lie that women with breast cancer cause their own disease. The sad truth is that doctors simply do not know what causes most breast cancers. Unfortunately this means that people with their own agendas spread lies and speculation that are totally unhelpful for those of us who have to live with this horrible disease.

  • theroadmaster

    The studies featured in the web site that I have included in my commentaries stand on their own merits and may make uncomfortable reading for those who do not see any links between induced abortion and breast cancer. Currently, one can quote studies ad nauseum, but the pendulum has to yet to swing conclusively in favour of one argument or the other.  With more tests taking in more representative samples of the female population, patterns may start to emerge which demonstrate the carcinogenic consequences of violently interrupting a pregnancy. 

  • theroadmaster

    Propaganda rarely travels down a one-way street, and there are certain parties on the pro-abortion/secularist side of the debate who are only too willing to cite the parts of studies which seem to fall in line with their own arguments. Such state organizations in the US are part of the Federal machinery of the current administration, which is resolutely pro-abortion rights. The US National Cancer Institute tried to suppress a report on the Abortion-Breast Cancer link carried out supposedly under their auspices.  
    Jessica Dolle and NCI official Louise Brinton had their study published in the very reputable journal Cancer Epidemiology in 2009, Biomarkers and Prevention. and it demonstrated a 20-25% increase in risk of cancer for women who had abortions, as distinct from those who allowed their pregnancies to go to full term.  But the NCI decided to hide those findings which did not coincide with the ideological-driven policy of the organization to acknowledge the presence of such a link. Also they tried to prevent Louise Brinton from revealing her findings at the NCI workshop  “Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer”” In 2003.  
    The WHO(World Health Organization) promotes abortion as a solution for so called “reproductive health” problems in 3rd world countries, and tries to have it included as a quid pro quo in return for economic regeneration.  So you can see “neutrality” seems to be in short supply on the part of the organizations or Institutes hysterically trying to deny any causal links between induced abortions and breast cancer.

  • theroadmaster

    well, toxicity in the context that I use it is certainly poisonous as abortion is a moral as well as a health hazard(specially for the growing child in the womb).

  • theroadmaster

    I mean’t ”
    But the NCI decided to hide those findings which did not coincide with the ideological-driven policy of the organization NOT to acknowledge the presence of such a link.”.

  • EdinburghEye

    How appalling that you should be spreading as if true a claim about a link between breast cancer and abortion which is known to be false.

    How horribly cruel.

    Women have abortions. To try to psychologically punish them by promoting a lie is bearing false witness for cruelty’s sake – an obscenely ugly practice.

  • EdinburghEye

     Truth would seem to be irrelevant where the pro-life industry is concerned.

  • Honeybadger

    The same can be said about the pro-abortion lobby.

    Mess with hormones at your peril.

  • Honeybadger

    Might I ask: What the heck are you doing on a Roman Catholic forum? We are not ‘pushing’ our religion at all.

    In my long experience, it is people like YOU who ‘push’ your politics and twisted rhetoric down people’s throats. It is people like YOU who are bitterly and violently discouraging the world from offering the other side of the coin in the heinous money-making business called ABORTION. It is high time you and people like you just shut up and let people talk.

    You know blinking well where the Roman Catholic Church stand on life matters and you turn round and pour your vitriol in our direction. Guilt, perhaps?

    And don’t turn round and accuse me of being un-Christian about my post. I can see it coming a mile off. Christianity is about love – yes, it is – but it is also about tough love, honesty and hard, hurtful TRUTHS!

    May God forgive you!

  • Honeybadger


    Go. Away. NOW!

  • Acleron

    They would only be evidence for any link between abortion and breast cancer if they were of sufficient quality to outweigh the high quality research which sees no link at all.

    If the only way you can make a link is by cherry picking what are little more than biased questionnaires and ignoring high quality research then you have no case at all.

  • Acleron

    very reputable journal Cancer Epidemiology in 2009, Biomarkers and Prevention
    In medical journals, this is ranked 170 with a Journal Rank Indicator of 0.488. For comparison, the top ranked Journal is the Cancer Journal for Clinicians with an SJR of 9,895. So your journal is hardly reputable, almost no-one cites articles in it. 

    But the conspiracy theory runs strong in those whose beliefs are contradicted by the evidence. But do you honestly believe that the whole of the NCI a massive government organisation is in on this conspiracy? If you do, it is quite obvious you have never worked in scientific research. Trying to organise scientists to all have lunch together is like herding cats, as for joining into a conspiracy, that is just fanciful.

  • Acleron

    Care to mention who has lied or deliberately misinterpreted research findings?

  • Acleron

     Christianity is about love – yes, it is – but it is also about tough love, honesty and hard, hurtful TRUTHS!’

    Just like the fundamentalists to say they are going to cause you pain by loving you. No you are not kind and loving, you just want everybody else to follow some silly rules just because you have been told to follow them. You wish for this domination over others so much you couldn’t care less how much hurt you cause. And then you try to excuse this because you believe in something. And what you believe in is actually totally accidental. Had you been born in a Hindu family you would have believed in a totally different set of rules and I suspect you would have believed just as fervently.

  • EdinburghEye

     Ah. So abortion “causes” breast cancer because abortion is evil, and miscarriage doesn’t because it’s “natural”. Very scientific!

  • EdinburghEye

     “What the heck are you doing on a Roman Catholic forum? We are not ‘pushing’ our religion at all”

    Well, quite. A post consisting entirely of lies about a faked-up “link” between breast cancer and abortion is nothing to do with the Catholic religion.

    If Francis Philips opts to post unCatholic anti-science lies, then the forum will have people coming along to comment who are justly offended by such appalling untruths being promoted.

  • EdinburghEye

    The same can be said about the pro-abortion lobby.

    There is no “pro-abortion” lobby.

    Mess with hormones at your peril.

    Far more miscarriages take place each year than abortions. The exact same interruption of hormones occurs with miscarriage as with abortion.

    The prolife lobby has never tried to claim that miscarriage “causes” abortion. Ergo, this is not science: it is cruelty towards women who have had abortions, trying to scare them with breast cancer.

  • EdinburghEye

    If prolifers actually had any confidence in their argument that abortion is bad, they wouldn’t need to use so many lies.