– the Biological Basis of the Abortion- Breast-Cancer
By Dr. Angela Lanfranchi,
Vice President of
Breast Cancer Prevention Institute
Simply stated, the
increased risk for contracting breast cancer because a woman has
chosen to abort rests on two simple, interrelated principles.
first is that the more estrogen a woman is exposed to in her
lifetime, the higher her risk for breast cancer.
is the sooner she matures her undifferentiated, cancer-vulnerable
Type 1 lobules into the cancer-resistant Type 3 lobules, the lower
her risk of breast cancer.
The only “mechanism”
for this transformation is the process that takes place in the
third trimester of pregnancy called differentiation.
first principle concerning the effect of estrogen exposure is the
hardest to grasp, even counter- intuitive. After all, estrogen is
a normal female hormone in a woman’s body and is what makes
women womanly. Without it women could not have children.
are two ways estrogen can induce cancer to form: as a genetoxin
and a mitogen . A genotoxin directly damages the DNA causing
mutations, which initiates a process that leads to the formation
A mitogen causes cells to proliferate, that is,
to multiply through division. Each time a cell divides to form two
cells it must replicate its DNA.
But during replication,
there are mutations in the form of “copying” errors.
Much like really bad typos can change the meaning of a sentence or
even make the whole sentence wrong, if this “error” is
severe enough, a cancer cell can form.
What does this have
to do with breast cancer?
When a woman becomes pregnant,
estradio l, a type of estrogen, causes her breasts to enlarge.
This estradiol rush causes a huge increase (“proliferation”)
in the number of cancer-vulnerable cells in her breasts and an
increase in the number of Type 1 and Type 2 lobules.
second biological principle which explains why induced abortion
increases the risk of breast cancer risk concerns the protective
role a full-pregnancy plays by maturing a woman’s breast
lobules into Types 3 and 4, which are more resistant to
carcinogens. ( Type 4 lobules form after childbirth.)
are born with a small number of Type 1 breast lobules, which are
units of milk glands and duct cells. At adolescence, because of
estrogen, a young woman develops some Type 2 lobules. Types 1 and
2 lobules are faster growers than Type 3 lobules, and compared to
Type 4 lobules, have a shorter doubling time.
lobules, otherwise known as “terminal ductal lobular units”
(TDLU), are where we know ductal cancers start.
after she completes a full-term pregnancy, 70 percent of a woman’s
breast lobules have become mature, cancer-resistant Type 3
lobules. In the process the growth potential –and
cancer-forming potential – of these cells is turned off.
Simply put, there are now fewer places for breast cancer to
When these two principles are considered together it
becomes apparent why induced abortion increases breast cancer
Even before implantation, as soon as a woman
conceives, her estrogen levels start to rise. By the end of the
first trimester in a healthy pregnancy the level has risen by 2000
But if a pregnancy is stopped prior to week 32,
the woman is left with many more Type 1 and 2 lobules than before
she became pregnant. (If pregnancy had gone to term, these lobules
would have been protected from cancer because they had matured
into Type3 and 4 lobules.)
So, rather than having fewer
places for cancer to form, she has more. It is in the interplay of
these two principles, estrogen exposure and breast lobule
maturation, which accounts for the fact that abortion can lead to
The biology of the ABC link is vital for all women
to understand in its own right but also important to keep in mind
when the latest epidemiological study comes out purportedly
showing that there is no link between induced abortion and breast
But no study can change our biology or what we have
witnessed in our own communities. Over the past 30 years,
cumulative lifetime risk of breast cancer has gone from 1 in 12 to
1 in 7 women.
The women with breast cancer in our
neighbor-hoods are getting younger and younger. Every woman who
understands her own biology knows why.
Lanfranchi is a fellow of American College of Surgeons, diplomat
of American Board of Surgery, member of Expert Advisory Panel of
New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners, and clinical assistant
professor of surgery at R.W. Johnson Medical School in Piscataway,
Please feel free to copy and disseminate the above
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