In Komen fallout, abortion-breast cancer myth is resurrected


The long-debunked idea that abortions can contribute to breast cancer is reappearing amid the outpouring of comments this week on Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood breast-health programs.

Here’s one comment on Komen’s Facebook page:

“Also! Breast cancer is linked to abortions!!! More and more studied are pointing to abortions for a huge risk factor for BC, why should SGK support something that raises the chances of what they wasn’t destroyed??? Indirectly or not!!!”

The Komen foundation, however, is among the many organizations that uniquivocally say there is no link between abortions and breast cancer. Moreover, a consortium of scientists reviewed all of the evidence on the link in 2003 and determined there is no cause for concern.


From the website of the National Cancer Institute:

“In February 2003, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) convened a workshop of over 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk. Workshop participants reviewed existing population-based, clinical, and animal studies on the relationship between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortions. They concluded that having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.”

A summary of the findings can be found in the Summary Report: Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer Workshop.

In 2004, the journal Lancet published a meta-analysis of 53 studies involving 83,000 women with breast cancer. It found that these women were no more likely to have had a miscarriage or abortion earlier in life than women without breast cancer.

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