Today begins the inexorable presentation of the scientific literature on the abortion/breast cancer (ABC) link. I’ve written a brief and simple glossary of the terms used (such as case-control, nulliparous, parous, relative risk, confidence interval, etc.) and their significance here. Please consult it as often as is necessary and ask questions liberally.
This gets easier to follow after a few rounds, so hang in there. Women’s lives depend on us getting the truth out to them. In short order we’ll generate plenty of pros armed with the simple truth of science!
Title: Induced and spontaneous abortion in relation to risk of breast cancer (United States)
Authors: Julie R. Palmer, Lynn Rosenberg, R. Sowmya Rao, Ann Zauber, Brian L. Strom, M. Ellen Wershauer, Paul D. Stolley and Samuel Shapiro
Journal: Cancer Causes and Control, 1997, 8, pp 841-849.
• Drs. Palmer, Rosenberg, Shapiro and Ms. Rao are with the Slone Epidemiology Unit, School of Public Health, Boston University. Authors are also affiliated with the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer, New York, New York.
• It should be noted that the research was supported by U.S. National Cancer Institute grants RO1 CA55716 and RO1 CA45762
This study is a Case-Control study.
Cases- “1,835 women ages 25-64 years with pathologically confirmed, invasive breast cancer diagnosed within the previous year and no previous or concurrent malignancy other than nonmelanoma skin cancer.”
Controls- “4,289 women aged 25-64 admitted for nonmalignant or malignant conditions judged to be unrelated to reproductive factors.”
Nulliparous and parous women were analyzed separately because of the increased incidence of breast cancer in nulliparous women.
With a 95% confidence interval (meaning the researchers are 95% certain that the results are not due to chance) as the benchmark for statistical significance, nulliparous women who had 1 induced abortion only had a 40% relative risk of breast cancer , as did parous women with 1 abortion only. Remember that this risk is relative to women in the control group who had no induced abortions.
So in plain English, women who had 1 induced abortion, regardless of ever having had a child, had a 40% increased risk of developing breast cancer over women the same age, with the same parity status who never had abortions, and the authors are 95% certain that there is no other explanation.
An interesting result is that in parous women (those who’ve had children) the relative risk of breast cancer is zero before a first full term pregnancy (FFTP) and 30% after a first full term birth. This is an inversion of the data found elsewhere. It could very well be explained by the effects of human lactogen in the subsequent FFTP, which matures those immature Type 1 and Type 2 cells that proliferated in the aborted pregnancy, but never matured. The maturing of those cells into Type 4 cells in a future pregnancy, before they had a chance to become cancerous, is a logical conclusion based upon the breast physiology and the relatively long incubation time for cancer.
That there is a 30% increased risk of cancer in parous women whose abortion came after a FFTP may well be explained by additional stimulation of the lobules by estrogen in the aborted pregnancy, without the benefit of lactogen at the end. This would leave an increased number of cancer-prone Type 1 and Type 2 cells behind.
Now, incredibly, the authors suggest that this study suffers from a form of recall bias. This after stating that they were 95% certain that the results could not be due to chance. The authors believe that women with breast cancer are less likely to underreport an abortion than women without breast cancer. They offer no proof of this phenomenon other than the same assertions made by other breast cancer researchers with similar data. In other words, the phenomenon is a baseless assertion reverberating in the pro-abortion echo chamber.
Are we really to believe that breast cancer brings women closer to telling the truth of their previous abortions? Why the acuity of memory in a breast cancer patient vs. the control patients? The abortion question was just one in a long, detailed history taken during the study.
There is no rational basis for believing that women with breast cancer are more apt to recall and report an abortion than any other women. Still, with no proof that the alleged phenomenon exists, no instrument to measure the alleged phenomenon, no numbers on the alleged phenomenon, the authors conclude:
“The small elevations in risk observed in the present study and in previous studies are compatible with what would be expected if there were differential underreporting by cases and controls.”
If I had pulled that crap during my dissertation defense, my committee would have laughed me out of the room. But, as we shall see over and over on a daily basis for months to come, this is what happens when ideology (and not physiology) becomes the prism through which data are filtered.
This October, please consider $upporting the following who desperately need our $upport to get the truth out*:
*I have no institutional affiliation or membership with either group. Karen Malec and BCPI have been great resources for me, utterly generous with their time and resources.