Joel Brind, Professor of Biology at Baruch College, disputes the prevailing view that no link exists between induced abortion and breast cancer. In this “critical review of recent studies,” Brind finds flawed methodologies marred the findings of data collected from China, France, Scotland, Sweden and elsewhere.
Brind’article, Induced Abortion as an Independent Risk Factor for Breast Cancer: A Critical Review of Recent Studies Based on Prospective Data, is published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 19. Number 4, Winter 2005.
Because Brind believes that “reporting bias” makes retroactive data untrustworthy, he focuses his attention here on prospective studies—e.g. research that queried woman about their reproductive history prior to any diagnosis of breast cancer. But even in these studies, Brind finds much to skew outcomes.
In several studies Brind notes a “cohort effect,” the result of comparing “two essentially different populations: the younger one which has experienced most of the abortions, and the older one which has developed most of the breast cancers.”
Brind also identifies many “misclassifications,” typically of women whose abortion were not recorded in the available data. He also argues that follow-up times were too short to measure the long-term impact of abortion on the incidence of breast cancer—which, he notes, continues to increase.
In conclusion, Brind reasserts the conclusion of his 1996 “meta-analysis” of the abortion-breast cancer link. The research correlation holds and “induced abortion is indeed a risk factor for breast cancer, despite the strong and pervasive bias in recent literature,” asserting the safety of the procedures that terminate pregnancy.
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD