More on the link between abortion and the rising rate of breast cancer.
It's the stuff of a Robin Cook novel. The national medical establishment, apparently motivated by political correctness, covers up research that could cost thousands of women their lives. A small-town doctor stumbles across the evidence and the conspiracy of silence. Reluctant at first to believe it, he embarks on a personal investigation. Soon he's caught in the middle of a storm of controversy that could cost him everything...
For Mississippi radiation oncologist Scott Moon, that possibility began to dawn shortly after he joined an Internet news discussion group a year or so ago. The topic of discussion that evening was whether or not there is a link between abortion and the increasing number of breast cancer cases worldwide. One vocal individual said he was convinced there is a link and that there's a huge body of published medical research to prove it.
Dr. Moon, who did his pre-med training at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, his internship at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois, and four years of radiation oncology training in Baltimore, Maryland, said his initial reaction was, "This guy is just making this stuff up. He has to be some kind of extremist pro-life nut! There's no way I could have gone through 13 years of medical-related study and not know about something this critical!"
The discussion piqued Moon's curiosity, however, and he began to investigate on his own the possibility of an abortion/breast cancer (ABC) link. His study led him to the extensive work of Joel Brind, Ph.D, and his colleagues at the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine. Published October 1996 in the British Medical Association's Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Brind's "Comprehensive Review and Meta-analysis" found that 24 of 30 epidemiological studies published worldwide to that date (now 28 out of 37) found a definite link between induced abortion and breast cancer. Brind's analysis revealed a 30% greater breast cancer risk for women who had undergone an abortion.
A very simplified explanation for the increased risk is that during pregnancy, a woman's breasts change drastically as they prepare to give milk. If this process is disrupted (as with an induced abortion), the breasts are left with an abnormally high number of cells containing certain forms of estrogen. Because these cells are in a transitional, unstable stage, they are extremely vulnerable to carcinogens and, thus, to later cancerous mutation.
An in-depth examination of this issue reveals a plethora of study results, Web sites and information from experts in many fields that support an ABC link. Examples include:
In order to affirm for himself the validity of Dr. Brind's meta-analysis, Dr. Moon talked at length with the physician. "He told me how he had gotten both pro-life and pro-choice scientists within his study group to look at the body of data together so he could not be accused of "slanting" the study results. The group unambiguously concluded that the link [between abortion and breast cancer] was significant."
As Moon studied the research, he was amazed to find an incidence of breast cancer risk ranging from 30% to as high as 100% in the various studies. He says he was "blown away" to realize that scientific data supporting the validity of an ABC link had been successfully "hidden" from him for years -- whether inadvertently or on purpose.
He was also incredulous to think that in light of these results, women are not being informed of the potential risk. "Physicians have a basic duty and sacred responsibility to take care of patients and, at least, 'do no harm,'" Moon declares. "When a physician subjects a patient to a medical treatment or procedure, basic ethical principles (not to mention legal precedent) require the physician to first obtain the patient's informed consent. This is especially the case when the proposed procedure is elective (as most abortions are) and the risk in question is life-threatening."
Dr. Moon was recently stirred to write an article for the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer expressing his anger and disappointment with the NCI after he read that organization's March 6, 2002 "Cancer Facts" sheet on the Web. The second sentence says, "The current body of scientific evidence suggests that women who have had either induced or spontaneous abortions have the same risk as other women for developing breast cancer." (Emphasis added.)
The "Facts" sheet goes on to point out inconsistencies in the reporting process of "early" studies, and lists the virtues of the 1997 Melbye Study, conducted in Denmark, that found "induced abortions have no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer." However, significant flaws were found in the Melbye Study by Dr. Brind and others, explains Moon. He is also incensed by the fact that the NCI completely ignores Brind's meta-analysis and other research that directly contradicts the NCI's "facts" and strongly supports an ABC link. "They simply pretend that the elephant is not in the room!" he exclaims.
"It is now obvious to me that this is a cover-up," argues Moon. "And it's taken a while for me to comprehend how pervasive and effective it is. I am outraged that something like this could happen, especially in this field of medicine!
"I thought, 'Yes, things like this can happen in the political arena and other areas, but science is science. There's so much objective data available, I thought it would be impossible to succeed in a cover-up -- especially with women's health -- where lives are being risked. But it's clearly happening."
So why a cover-up? "I can only conclude that it is politically motivated," responds Moon. "To be pro-abortion is politically correct in this country. The right to an abortion is a relatively new 'Constitutional right' that is defended with a vengeance by the pro-choice crowd. Anyone who even dares to question the merits of Roe v. Wade is immediately branded an extremist pariah. The NCI's funding relies upon the good will of the folks in D.C., and since there are so many politically correct legislators who don't want to upset the pro-abortionists, it makes sense that the NCI would tread lightly whenever abortion is brought up in a negative light.
"The preponderance of the evidence is in favor of a link between abortion and breast cancer. Any intellectually honest individual who has examined the evidence on both sides must at least be willing to concede that it is a debatable issue. If so, what right does any ethical medical practitioner have to keep women oblivious to this potential cancer risk if their patient is contemplating an abortion? To deny them this information is to deny them the right of a true informed consent.
"Also, how many thousands of women are being denied the opportunity to take breast cancer prevention medications because the ABC risk is not being factored into the 'risk calculator' used by practitioners to select those patients eligible for the medications?"
Since the stakes are so high regarding the potential impact on the health and lives of millions of women, Moon suggests that an open debate be held on this subject between the most knowledgeable scientists and physicians on either side of the argument, followed by the publication of an updated and scientifically valid "fact" statement. However, he's skeptical that the debate, regardless of its importance, will ever take place. It's not politically correct.
Dr. Scott Moon is a radiation oncologist at the Mississippi Cancer Institute in McComb, Mississippi. He can be reached at 601-249-5509.
If politics gets involved in science ... it will really hold back the progress that we make ... I would have loved to have found no association between breast cancer and abortion, but our research is rock solid, and our data is accurate..." Dr. Janet Daling, abortion supporter, after an editorial in the NCI Journal, 11/94, maligned her study. (Joe Gelman, Editorial, LA Daily News, 9/28/97)
"[Pro-abortionists] don't give the full picture ... We call it the 'abortion distortion.'" Dana Cody, executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation on why so little credence is given to studies reflecting an ABC link. (phone interview.)
"We believe there are credible studies showing a link between abortion and breast cancer. We believe the overwhelming evidence indicates there is such a link, but we believe there should be additional studies on this issue." Maria Vitale, legislative associate, Ohio Right To Life. (phone interview)
For a clear, concise overview of this issue, go to www.polycarp.org, the Web site of Dr. Chris Kahlenborn of Altoona, Pennsylvania, who wrote the book "Breast Cancer: Its Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill."
On the Internet, use search words abortion/breast cancer link at www.google.com.
This article can be found on the AmericanFamily Association website and is reprinted with permission.