By Joel Brind, Ph.D.
Editor’s note. Over at “Chinese Abortion-Breast Cancer bombshell: Meta-analysis of 36 Chinese studies shows abortion increases breast cancer risk by 44%,” Dr. Joel Brind very elegantly explicates the latest research that demonstrates yet again that when a woman choose an induced abortion, it does increase her risk of having breast cancer. The following is part of a four-part series that Dr. Brind wrote for NRL News Today in March of this year which is absolutely must-reading for anyone who wishes to be able to demonstrate the truth of the “ABC” link to skeptics.
This entry explains the basic biology explaining why abortion elevates breast cancer risk, which pro-abortionists avoid mentioning at all costs.
In the three previous installments of this series, I documented the epidemiological evidence for the abortion-breast cancer link (ABC link), and the ongoing wall of denial from the official purveyors of public health information, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In this final installment, I’ll go over the straightforward biology concerning exactly how abortion interferes with normal breast development and breast health, thus leading to a higher risk of breast cancer later in life for women who have chosen abortion.
Everyone knows that the breasts, as part of the reproductive system, do not develop until puberty. But most people—even doctors—do not know that the breasts really do not develop substantially even at puberty: they essentially just grow to adult size. What that means is from the time of puberty, a girl has a lot more breast tissue capable of growing—and capable of becoming cancerous—than she had before puberty. Thus does puberty open what breast cancer researchers call the “susceptibility window”.
The susceptibility window—when potentially cancer-causing mutations can collect in vulnerable breast lobule cells, the milk-producing parts of the breast—only closes when a woman has her first full-term pregnancy. It is in fact at about 32 weeks of a normal pregnancy that most of the primitive, growing cells of the breast become terminally differentiated into cells that can actually produce milk. These mature cells are resistant to becoming cancerous because their ability to proliferate has been turned off. That explains not only the epidemiological evidence showing abortion’s link to future breast cancer risk, but also the fact that a live birth before 32 weeks gestation also increases risk, for the effect of terminating a normal pregnancy on the mother is the same, regardless of the fate of the child.
A little more detailed look at what happens to the breasts during pregnancy clearly shows two major ways in which abortion raises the risk of future breast cancer. The future milk-producing structures in the breast that multiply during puberty are called Type 1 and Type 2 lobules. It is Type 1 and Type 2 lobules where almost all breast cancers start. Microscopically, these lobules look rather like trees in winter, with the branches bare except for small buds. After puberty but before first pregnancy, almost 100% of the lobules are Type 1 and 2.
When a woman becomes pregnant, the hormones estrogen and progesterone surge and cause a massive growth spurt in the breasts, doubling the size of the lobular tissue by mid-pregnancy (20 weeks gestation). But by 32 weeks gestation, only about 20% of the lobules are still cancer-vulnerable Type 1 and 2. Most have matured to Type 4 and can produce colostrum or milk.
Putting all this together in terms of breast cancer risk, we can see that putting off childbirth until a woman is older results in a greater likelihood of getting breast cancer, because the susceptibility window is open much longer. This fact has been well established, ever since a definitive, international multi-center study commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) was published in 1970. Moreover, it is widely known to be responsible for most of the difference between the high rate of breast cancer incidence among women in North America and Europe—who typically wait until they are in their late 20’s or 30’s to start having children—and the much lower cancer breast cancer incidence rates among women in Asia and Africa.
Thus there is no controversy about the fact that the longer a woman waits to start having children, the higher her future risk of breast cancer. Importantly, abortion abrogates the protective effect of full-term pregnancy, by delaying the closing of the susceptibility window.
But abortion does more damage than merely postponing first childbirth. That’s because the surging estrogen and progesterone of a normal pregnancy multiplies the number of Type 1 and 2 lobules. If the pregnancy is aborted, this creates more places for cancers to start, because the third trimester maturation to type 3 and 4 lobules never is allowed to happen. That is why dozens of published epidemiological studies from around the world, starting as far back as 1957, continue to emerge which show increased breast cancer risk among women who have chosen abortion. This trend even showed up in the WHO report back in 1970, wherein the authors noted that their results “suggested increased risk associated with abortion — contrary to the reduction in risk associated with full-term births.”
Finally, it should be noted that there are even two more ways—indirect ways—in which abortion can increase a woman’s future breast cancer risk.
First, abortion increases the risk of premature birth in subsequent pregnancies. Not only does this have devastating consequences in terms of increasing the incidence of such congenital disabilities as cerebral palsy and autism, but, as noted above, premature deliveries before 32 weeks gestation increases the risk of breast cancer, the same as later term abortion does.
Second, it is also well established that breast feeding reduces the risk of future breast cancer, and breast feeding is of course not possible after the baby is aborted.