Can abortion cause breast cancer?

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

Recently, there are some studies have suggested abortion may increase the risk of breast cancer. Findings from some studies suggested there was no increase in risk of breast cancer among women who had had an abortion, while findings from other studies suggested there was an increased risk. Since breast cancer is the second leading cancer killer in women, these information make many women being kept in the dark of confusion. However, these study results’ accuracy still remains unverified.

Why abortion is considered a risk factor for breast cancer?

Throughout woman life, her hormone levels will gradually have many changes for a variety of reasons. And when a woman becomes pregnant for the first time, the body will go through many biological changes including breast area to make a preparation for welcoming a child. During these time, her immature and cancer-vulnerable breast tissue matures into cancer-resistant tissue. The levels of hormone estrogen will increase and lead to breast’s cell enlargement for milk production. When a women having abortion before her third trimester (both induced and spontaneous abortion), it causes a sudden change to the normal formation of the cells and make them more vulnerable to cancer. These hormonal changes occur during pregnancy may influence a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer later in life. Hence, many scientists have based on this theories to put on research. 

Can abortion cause breast cancer?

However, many of these studies were conducted by only a small number of women. Moreover, women’s histories of miscarriage and abortion were based on their self-report rather than on their medical records. And most of all, the data were collected only after breast cancer had been diagnosed which made the results less convincing. Since then, experts have designed more reliable studies based on the theory. These newer studies examined large numbers of women, collected data before breast cancer was found, and gathered medical history information from medical records rather than simply from self-reports, thereby generating more reliable findings. The newer studies consistently showed no association between induced and spontaneous abortions and breast cancer risk.

The US National Cancer Institute (NCI) workshop in 2003 with the participation of more than 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk have giving relieve findings. Through human and animal studies, the experts have looked at the link between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortions. Their findings in breast cancer risks included:

  • Induced abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk.
  • Spontaneous abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk.

Now, the relationship of abortion and breast cancer is no longer threatening many women. The factors known to increase a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer include age, a family history of breast cancer, an early age at first menstrual period, a late age at menopause, a late age at the time of birth of her first full-term baby, and certain breast conditions. 

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnose or treatment.

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