Book published by One More Soul - 2000

Breast Cancer: Its Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill

Chris Kahlenborn, MD

Intensively researched, full of clear explanations and convincing detail, this book cuts to the heart of the current breast cancer epidemic and gives clear, workable strategies for reducing women's cancer risk.

Breast cancer has become epidemic in the United States in recent years, with the published expectation that one of eight women in this country will incur this disease during her lifetime. Each year more than 175,000 U.S. women develop breast cancer and more than 43,000 die from it. This is a vast change from the status 50 years ago when breast cancer was known as "nun's disease" because it was quite rare and mostly affected women who had never been pregnant or given birth. Lifestyle changes apparently account for much of this change, particularly the adoption of contraception and abortion as principal tools for fertility management. It is a very common experience for a woman today to use contraceptive pills for several years, have an unplanned pregnancy, and abort that pregnancy.

Effects on breast tissue from these events can be disastrous. Contraceptive hormones and normal pregnancy cause breast tissue cells to multiply, resulting in new immature (undifferentiated) breast cells. A complete pregnancy would cause these cells to mature completely, but abortion and contraceptive hormones leave them immature and prone to cancer.

Significant increases of breast cancer risk due to abortion and to use of contraceptive hormones have been clearly defined in research studies as early as 1981. The impact of these findings has been obscured, however, by controversy among the researchers, tendentious reporting in the media, and resistance from government agencies and medical organizations. The material presented here gives a clear opportunity to promote a culture of health for women, using natural means to manage fertility, and to develop a healthier environment for them and their families.

Many research studies have examined the connection between abortion and breast cancer. One study in 1957 found that women who had abortions had double the risk of breast cancer compared to women who had not aborted. A study in 1981 found that women who had an abortion before having a full-term pregnancy had a 140% increased risk of breast cancer, while another major study in 1994 found a 40% increased risk for the same category of women. For women in this category who were less than 18 years old and had a pregnancy of over 8 weeks, the increase found was 800%! In 1996 a meta-analysis was done on this topic, a statistical combination of all previous studies into one set of results. The combined conclusion was that women who experience an induced abortion before having a full-term pregnancy incur at least a 50% increased risk of breast cancer. These findings have not been well publicized, however, because great attention has been given to certain faulty studies with less alarming conclusions.

Concerns about contraceptive hormones causing breast cancer were raised beginning in 1972 when a series of animal research studies showed this connection. A major study on humans in 1981 showed a 125% increased risk of breast cancer for women who used hormonal contraceptives for 4 or more years before having a full-term pregnancy. Other studies since then have confirmed an increased risk for this category of at least 40%. These risks are likely understated because most of the large studies had clear design flaws that would tend to depress the calculation of risk percent. A meta-analysis done in 1990 found that, overall, the studies up to that time confirmed an increased risk of breast cancer of 72% for women under age 45 who took oral contraceptive pills for 4 or more years before having a full-term pregnancy. Use of these contraceptives for longer periods appears to carry an even higher risk. Again these findings were not well publicized because of excessive attention given to certain faulty studies whose design errors tended to understate the risk.

The risks identified in these studies increase the likelihood that a woman will suffer breast cancer. This means that women who have a higher than ordinary breast cancer risk due to well known risk factors such as nulliparity (childlessness), faulty "protective" genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, or being a black American, have even higher risk when affected by abortion or hormonal contraceptives.

Calculations based on the available studies indicate that in the United States more than 46,800 women will develop breast cancer yearly due to contraceptive hormone exposure and more than 10,000 will die.

Besides the effect of hormonal contraceptives in increasing the risk of breast cancer, these chemicals have also been found to significantly increase the risk of cervical cancer, liver cancer, some types of endometrial cancer and for transmission of AIDS. These hormones reduce the risk of ovarian cancer and the most common type of endometrial cancer, but these protective effects are greatly outweighed by the added risks just mentioned.

A number of highly effective strategies for controlling breast cancer risk (and some other risks as well) are identified in the book. Use of Natural Family Planning instead of hormonal contraceptives would evidently reduce risk factors significantly, as would avoidance of abortion, childbirth early in a woman's life, extended breastfeeding, multiple childbirth, moderation of alcohol use, and weight loss (in obese women). Some protective benefit may also be obtained by use of Vitamin A. To adopt these strategies would involve a significant change in our current culture, but would result in many lives saved and avert a huge amount of suffering.

The author of this book, Chris Kahlenborn, is an internal medicine specialist practicing in Altoona, PA. The book is the fruit of more than 6 years spent collecting and analyzing the available research on this topic. What sparked this search was a presentation in 1993 in which the speaker described an increase in breast cancer risk due to abortion, apparently caused by hormonal changes in the woman's body. This led Dr. Kahlenborn to wonder whether contraceptive hormones might have the same effect. He then began an exhaustive review of the research covering breast cancer's connection to both contraceptives and abortion.

Employing a highly user-friendly question and answer format, the author gives a detailed, yet understandable presentation of the major research findings to date. Technical information is interpreted in clear non-technical language, making the subject matter very accessible for the layperson and medical professional alike. There is also a clear, well documented, presentation of the factors which have unfortunately operated to suppress this crucial information. A number of effective preventative strategies are identified and explained. The author strongly challenges physicians, medical organizations, the research establishment, and government agencies to live up to their responsibilities for protecting women's health in this area. A final challenge is given to women themselves to take action to protect their health in the absence of effective action from responsible organizations.

This important new book is available from One More Soul in paperback for $25.00 and in hard cover for $35.00. To order, call One More Soul at (800) 307-7685 or access the One More Soul website at or contact us by email at