Footnotes for "The Politics of Breast Cancer Research," by Rachel Mary MacNair

  1. Krieger, Nancy "Exposure Susceptibility and Breast Cancer Risk" Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 13:205-23, 1989
  2. Krieger, N., "Social class and the black/white crossover in the age-specific incidence of breast cancer: a study linking census-derived data to population-based registry records," Am. J. Epidemiol. 131:804-814(1990)
  3. Cates, W., Jr., "Legal abortion: the public health record" Science 215: 1586-1590 (1982)
  4. Lin, T.M., K.P. Chen, and B. MacMahon"Epidemiological characteristics of cancer of the breast in Taiwan" Cancer 27:1497-1504(1970)
  5. White, E., J. Daling, T.L. Norsted, J. Chu, "Rising incidence of breast cancer among young women in Washington State," J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 79:239-43(1987)
  6. Krieger, N., "Social class and the black/white crossover in the age-specific incidence of breast cancer: a study linking census-derived data to population-based registry records," Am. J. Epidemiol. 131:804-814(1990)
  7. Rubin, C.H., C.A. Burnett, W.E. Halperin, P.J. Seligman, "Occupation as a risk idenitifier for breast cancer", Am. J. Public Health 83:1311-5 (1993).
  8. Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, 1992.
  9. Cates, W., Jr., "Legal abortion: the public health record" Science 215: 1586-1590 (1982)
  10. Lindefors-Harris, B.M., G. Edlund, O. Meirik, L.E. Rutqvist, and K. Wiklund, "Risk of cancer of the breast after legal abortion during first trimester: A Swedish register study", Brit. Med. J. 299:1430-1432(1989)
  11. Town Hall Meeting on Health Care, sponsored by Eleanor Holmes Norton, Saturday, October 16, 1993, at the Great Hall, Hubert Humphrey Building of the United States Department of Health and Human Services
  12. Vessey, M.P., K. McPherson, D. Yeates, and R. Doll, "Oral contraceptive use and abortion before first term pregnancy in relation to breast cancer risk," Br. J. Cancer, 45:327-331(1982)
  13. Rosenberg, Lynn. "Breast cancer in relation to the occurrence and time of induced and spontaneous abortion". American Journal of Epidemiology 127:981-989 (1988)
  14. ASH Smoking and Health Review, July-August, 1994, page 4.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Daling, Janet, "Risk of breast cancer among young women: relationship to induced abortion," Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 86:1584(1994).
  17. Vargas, Elizabeth, "A Dangerous Link," Dateline NBC, television news program, November 1, 1994. National Broadcasting Corporation. Producer: Elizabeth Fischer, Editor: Robert Brandel.
  18. Ibid.


Studies suggestive of a breast cancer-abortion link (in chronological order)

"An epidemiological study of cancer in Japan" Segi, M., I. Fukushima, and M. Kurihara GANN 48(Supp): 1(1957) Reported a higher rate of both spontaneous and induced abortions among breast cancer patients; increased risk ranged from 100% to 400% among the different subgroups in the study.

"Epidemiology of cancer of the uterine cervix and corpus, breast and ovary in Israel and New York City" Stewart, H.L. and L.J. Dunham J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 37:1-95(1966) More Israeli breast cancer patients had pregnancies which terminated in the first trimester than did the control group.

"Lactation and reproductive histories of breast-cancer patients in Tokyo, Japan" Yuasa, S. and B. MacMahon Bull. WHO 42:195-204(1970) "There was a significant excess of [cancer] cases reporting one or more abortions."

"Epidemiological characteristics of cancer of the breast in Taiwan" Lin, T.M., K.P. Chen, and B. MacMahon Cancer 27:1497-1504(1970) Women with one or more abortions had a cancer risk 50% higher than that of women who did not; with two or more abortions, the risk rose to 100% higher.

"Breast cancer in an area of high parity" Mirra, P. P. Cole, and B. MacMahon Cancer Res. 31:77-83(1971) In a Brazilian study, more breast cancer patients reported having had abortions than did the control group.

"Breast Cancer in pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women"
Stavraky, K. and S. Emmons J Natl. Cancer Inst. 53:647-654(1974) Thirty-seven percent of patients who developed breast cancer after menopause had had at least one abortion, while only 27% of women with other cancers reported having had an abortion.

"Risk factors of breast cancer in Finland" Soini, I.
Intl. J. Epidemiol. 6:365-373(1977) Rate of breast cancer among women in Finland increased with number of abortions.

"An epidemiologic study of breast cancer" Choi, N.W., G.R. Howe, A.B. Miller, V. Matthews, R.W. Morgan, L. Munan, J.D. Burch, J. Feather, M. Jain, and A. Kelly Amer J. Epidemiol. 107:510-521(1978) Women whose pregnancies lasted four months or less showed a statistically significant increase in breast cancer.

"The role of reproductive history in breast cancer causation" Dvoirin, V.V. and A.B. Medvedev Methods and results of studies of breast cancer epidemiology, 53-56. Tallinn, Estonia (in Russian)(1978) Case-control study in the North Caucasus, Soviet Union, found an increased risk in women with three or more induced abortions of 240%. With one or two induced abortions, the increase in risk was 100%.

"A review of the epidemiology of human breast cancer" Kelsey, J.L. Epidemiol. Rev. 1:74-109(1979) "Pregnancies of less than four to five months duration may be associated with an increased risk."

"Susceptibility of mammary gland to carcinogenesis: Pregnancy interruption as a risk factor." Russo, J., Russo, I.H. American Journal of Pathology 100:497-512(1980). The breast tissue of rats is similar to that of humans, and this study in rats found that animals who had an induced abortion were at the same risk of breast cancer as animals treated with a chemical typically used to induce cancer in rats. Whether the developmental mechanisms are the same in women requires further study, of course, but this study was cited by the National Women's Health Network as giving a plausible explanation for why there should be a connection.

"Oral contraceptive use and early abortion as risk factors for breast cancer in young women" Pike, M.C., B.E. Henderson, J.T. Casagrande, I. Rosario, and G.E. Gray Brit. J. Cancer 43:72-76(1981) First trimester abortion of first pregnancies led to increased risk of 140% (2.4 times) among women under 32.

"Reproductive factors in the aetiology of breast cancer" Brinton, L.A., R. Hoover, and J.F. Fraumeni, Jr. Brit. J. Cancer 47:757-782(1983) Raw numbers in this study nearly duplicate Pike's findings two years earlier.

"Interrupted pregnancy as one indicator of poor prognosis in T1, T2, No, Mo primary breast cancer" Ownby, H.E., S. Martino, L. D. Roi, L. Howard, J. Russo, S. Brooks, and M.J. Brennan
Breast Cancer Res. Treat. 3:339-344(1983) Women with one abortion had twice as many recurrences of cancer as those with none; women with two or more abortions had three times as many cases of cancer.

"Occurrence of breast cancer in relation to diet and reproductive history: a case-control study in Fukuoka, Japan" Hirohata, T., T. Shigematsu, A.M.Y. Nomura Natl. Cancer Inst. Mono. 69:187(1985) After multiple logistic regression analysis, risk among women with any induced abortion was 52% higher than from women who had no abortions.

"Abortion before first live birth and risk of breast cancer" Hadjimichael, O.C., C.A. Boyle, and J.W. Meigs Brit. J. Cancer 53:281-284(1986) Abortion before first live birth, after adjusting for other known risk factors, increased risk by 250% (3.5 times).

"General epidemiology of breast cancer in Norther Italy" La Vecchia, C., A. Decarli, F. Parazzini, A. Gentile, E. Negi, G. Cecchetti and S. Franceschi Intl. J. Epidemiol. 16:347-355(1987) Risk among Italian women with one or more legal abortions before first live birth was increased by 42%. Researchers reported "little relation of breast cancer risk with abortions or miscarriages", and this study is cited as one to make the connection inconclusive. Yet it did show a positive increase when only the abortion of a first pregnancy is considered.

"Risk of breast cancer in relation to reproductive factors in Denmark" Ewertz, M. and S.W. Duffy Brit. J. Cancer 58:99-104(1988) Termination of first pregnancy before 28 weeks increased risk by 43% ; two or more abortions before the first full pregnancy increased the risk by 73%; one induced abortion with no live births increased risk by 285%.

"Risk factors for breast cancer in Chinese women in Shanghai" Yuan, J.M., M.C. Yu, and R.K. Ross Cancer Res. 48:1949(1988)
Among Chinese women who developed breast cancer before the age of 40, abortion before first full-term pregnancy led to increased risk of 140%.

"Breast cancer and pregnancy: the ultimate challenge" Clark, R.M. and T. Chua Clin. Oncol. Royal Coll. Radiol. 1:11-18(1989) Among women who developed cancer while pregnant: those who carried pregnancy to term had a 20% survival rate; women who miscarried received more aggressive treatment and had a 42% survival rate, but every woman who chose abortion died.

"Early abortion and breast-cancer risk among women under 40" Howe, Holly, R.T. Senie, H. Bzduch, and P. Herzfeld Int. J. Epidemiol. 18:300-304(1989) Abortion of first pregnancy led to increased risk of 90% (1.9 times). Repeated abortions heightened risk by 300%.

"Risk of cancer of the breast after legal abortion during first trimester: A Swedish register study" Lindefors-Harris, B.M., G. Edlund, O. Meirik, L.E. Rutqvist, and K. Wiklund Brit. Med. J. 299:1430-1432(1989) Women who had an abortion before a live birth had an 88% greater risk of breast cancer than did women who had a live birth before an abortion.

"Proliferation and DNA ploidy in malignant breast tumors in relation to early oral contraceptive use and early abortions"
Olsson, H., J. Ranstam, B. Baldetop, S.-B. Ewers, M. Ferno, D. Killander, H. Sigurdsson Cancer 67:1285-1290(1991) Abortion of first pregnancy led to more aggressive tumors.

"Her-2/neu and INT2 proto-oncogene amplification in malignant breast tumors in relation to reproductive factors and exposure to exogenous hormones" Olsson, H., A. Borg, M. Ferno, J. Ranstam, and H. Sidgurdsson J Natl. Cancer Inst. 83:1483-1487(1991)
Breast cancers of women who aborted their first pregnancy showed many times the normal rate of INT2, a specific gene associated with breast cancer.

"Spontaneous and induced abortions and risk of breast cancer"
Parazzini, F., C. La Vecchia, and E. Negri Int. J. Cancer 48:816-820(1991) Legal abortions in Italy before first birth led to increased risk of 30%. Again, a report cited as showing no relation between abortion and live birth, but actually containing data showing one with abortion of the first pregnancy is considered..

"Variations in the risk of breast cancer associated with a family history of breast cancer according to age at onset and reproductive factors" Andrieu, Nadine, et. al.J. Clin. Epidemiol. 46:973-980(1993)Researchers found no statistically significant abortion-related increase in breast cancer risk for women in general, but made the statistically significant finding that women with a family history of breast cancer were 280% more likely to get cancer if they had had two or more abortions.

"Breast cancer risk factors in African-American women: the Howard University Tumor Registry experience," Laing, Amelia, et. al.
J. Natl. Med. Assoc
. 85:931-939(1993) Shows a 50% increase in risk at or near the age of 40, a 180% increase in risk between 40-49, and a 370% increase for women 50 and older.

"Role of genetic and reproductive factors in breast cancer" Genetic Epidemiol. 11:285(1994). Did show an increase in risk, though not one that could eliminate the possibility of chance.

"Reproductive and lifestyle risk factors for breast cancer in African-American women" Genetic Epidemiol. 11:285(1994) Done under a National Cancer Institute grant, this was a follow-up to the exploratory research at Howard University of the previous year. The study shows a significantly significant 144% increase in breast cancer risk for women who have had abortions.

"Does abortion increase breast cancer risk?" J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 85:1987-88(1993) Dr. Janet Daling is quoted as saying, "There is a 50% to 90% increase in risk for women who had an abortion before the age of 18." This large-scale study was done at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and more extensive findings from this study will be out in the Fall of 1994.

"Risk of breast cancer among young women: relationship to induced abortion," Daling, Jnet. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 86:1584(1994). This study found a 50% increased chance of breast cancer for women under 45, and a higher risk when the first abortion was prior to 18 years of age.

Information on the studies cited was supplied by Scott Somerville, Esq.--Ed.