Armenian Study: Induced Abortion Nearly Triples Breast Cancer Risk

Karen Malec
Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer
Press Release
Karen Malec, 847-421-4000
Date: November 28, 2011
Reproduced with Permission

The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer notes that an Armenian study - whose authors examined diabetes mellitus type 2, reproductive factors, and breast cancer - found a statistically significant association showing a 2.86-fold increased breast cancer risk from one induced abortion. [1] The study, led by Lilit Khachatryan, included researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the University of Pennsylvania.

Khachatryan's team reported a statistically significant 13% increased breast cancer risk for every one year delay of a first full term pregnancy (FFTP), with delayed FFTPs until ages 21-30 or after age 30 resulting in 2.21-fold and 4.95-fold increased risks respectively, as opposed to women with FFTPs before age 20. (Abortion is often used to delay FFTPs.) Giving birth resulted in a 64% reduced risk.

Due to political correctness, the authors also inaccurately claimed, "Most evidence (of an abortion-breast cancer link)...points to no effect." Professor Joel Brind (Baruch College, City University of New York) said that is "plainly false." [2]

Fifty-four of 67 epidemiological studies since 1957 report an abortion-breast cancer (ABC) link (not counting biological and experimental evidence).

Khachatryan's team cited only one (severely criticized) study, Melbye et al. 1997, to support their false claim of "no effect." [3,4,5] Although Melbye's team found no overall increased risk, they reported a statistically significant 89% increased risk for those having abortions after 18 weeks gestation.

Khachatryan's group cited recall bias as a possible limitation of their study, but tellingly provided no citations to support that claim. According to this hypothesis, the only reason that scientists find an ABC link is not because abortion really does raise risk. Rather, more women with breast cancer accurately report their past abortions than do healthy women.

Dr. Brind said, "The recall bias argument has been repeatedly disproved in the literature." [2,6]

Similarly, authors of the Uzbekistan Health Examination Survey (which received financial and technical assistance through the US AID-funded MEASURE DHS+ program) said induced abortion is not negatively stigmatized in former Soviet states and that the collection of data is, therefore, successful. They wrote:

"However, in the republics of the former Soviet Union and in many Eastern European countries, induced abortion is an accepted means of fertility control, and data on this topic have been collected in households in a number of these countries with apparent success (Sullivan, et al., 2003; Westoff et al., 1998, 2002)." [7]

National Cancer Institute (NCI) branch chief Dr. Louise Brinton and her colleagues admitted in a 2009 study led by Jessica Dolle that abortion raises risk. [8] They demonstrated that they know recall bias is a red herring used to prop up abortion. After Brinton and the NCI told women during the agency's 2003 workshop to disregard retrospective studies because they were flawed due to recall bias, Brinton and Jessica Dolle and their colleagues subsequently used supposedly "flawed" data from their group's 1994 and 1996 studies for their 2009 study. [9-11]

Dr. Brind concluded that Khachatryan's team "did not - and perhaps were not allowed to - characterize their findings honestly in the politically correct atmosphere of the U.S. and Europe. The good news is that they were able to report their findings in a prominent peer-reviewed journal at all." [2]

Khachatryan's team also reported statistically significant results associated with breast cancer and diabetes mellitus type 2 (5.53-fold increased risk) and obesity (2.4-fold increased risk).

The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer is an international women's organization founded to protect the health and save the lives of women by educating and providing information on abortion as a risk factor for breast cancer.