Dear Friends:

Cancer authorities didn't tell women the truth about the cancer risks associated with the use of the birth control pill when the evidence emerged during the 1980s.  Why should we believe them now when they deny an abortion-breast cancer link?

A new meta-analysis in the journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, shows that recent studies conducted since 1980 support a link between oral contraceptive (OC) use and increased breast cancer risk, especially when OCs are used before the birth of a first child. 

As our readers know, the World Health Organization classified combined (estrogen plus progestin) OCs and combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as "Group 1 carcinogens" in 2005. 

U.S. cancer authorities did not warn women about the risks of using HRT until 2002 (although the evidence was available during the 1980s).  They haven't told women that OCs and HRT contain the same drugs and that OCs include even higher doses.

Nevertheless, doctors at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) are worried that women will give up their steroidal hormones.  Early in October, they convened a panel of experts at a press conference to encourage journalists to do more cheerleading for the birth control pill. 

Read more about it below and please be sure to spread the word.

Karen Malec
Coaltion on Abortion/Breast Cancer


Oral Contraceptive Use Linked with Premenopausal Breast Cancer, Reports Mayo Clinic's Journal

Early in October 2006, a meta-analysis of nearly two dozen studies was published in the journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, showing that oral contraceptive (OC) use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer later in life.  [1] 

The biological basis for such a link is the same as the biological basis for an abortion-breast cancer link.  Both links involve an overexposure to the hormone estrogen (a hormone and a known carcinogen).

The paper demonstrated that use of OCs is especially risky before a first full term pregnancy (FFTP).  Use of OCs before FFTP is "associated with more aggressive premenopausal breast cancers," wrote the authors.  Women who used OCs before having their first child had a 44% increased risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer. 

The paper, "Oral Conraceptive Use as a Risk Factor for Premenopausal Breast Cancer: A Meta-analysis," was authored by Chris Kahlenborn, M.D. and his colleagues. Kahlenborn is founder and president of The Polycarp Research Institute based in Atoona, Pennsylvania.

Their findings confirm earlier reports of a breast cancer risk associated with the use of drugs that contain a combination of estrogens and progestins. 

For instance, in 2002 the Women's Health Initiative Clinical Trial reported a 26% increased breast cancer risk for women who use combined (estrogen plus progestin) hormone replacement therapy (HRT). [2] 

Other investigators have observed that health authorities did not alert women in 2002 that OCs and HRT contain the same drugs and that OCs include even higher doses. [3]

In addition, the World Health Organization classified combined OCs and combined HRT as "carcinogenic to humans" in 2005. [4,5] The WHO said that OC use is associated with an increased risk for developing cancers of the breast, liver and cervix.

Unfortunately, many health officials have encouraged women to take OCs because they protect women from developing ovarian and endometrial cancers.  Yet, what sense does it make to offer this advice when more than twice as many American women die of cancers of the breast, liver and cervix every year?  Childbearing, on the other hand, is known to prevent breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers.

In their paper, Kahlenborn and his colleagues explained that women, who used OCs during the 1960s and early 1970s, generally did so after they had had their families.  By contrast, women who used OCs between the late 1970s and the 1990s, did so before the birth of a first child. 

The timing of exposure to carcinogens (i.e. estrogen) is significant in determining whether breast cancer develops later in life.  Kahlenborn et al. explained that when women are exposed to carcinogens before a first full term pregnancy (FFTP), their breast tissue remains undifferentiated and, therefore, cancer-susceptible. 

By contrast, when women are exposed to the same carcinogens after a FFTP, the breast tissue has been differentiated (matured into cancer-resistant lobules).  They wrote that differentiation "inhibits carcinogenic initiation and may explain the natural protection" against breast cancer that childbearing is known to provide.  They added, " is only during a full-term pregnancy that the breast attains its maximum development. This development occurs in two distinct phases, an early growth phase and a late phase of lobular differentiation." 

The breast only matures into cancer-resistant tissue during the last eight weeks of a full-term pregnancy. Before a FFTP over 70% of the breast tissue consists of immature, cancer-vulnerable Type 1 lobules (where 80% of all breast cancers are known to develop).  During the early growth phase of pregnancy, estrogen stimulates the lobules to multiply. Differentiation only takes place during the late phase - the last eight weeks of a full-term pregnancy.  After a FFTP, over 70% of the breast lobules are mature, cancer-resistant Type 3 lobules.

Kahlenborn et al. wrote that this would explain why many more childless women than parous women (those who'd had children) developed breast cancer after being exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  They added that rodents, dogs and monkeys have developed breast cancer after exposure to the hormones used in OCs.

"OCs accelerate the rate of breast cell division in women who take them before FFTP," said Kahlenborn's team.  Cancer is a disease in which cell division is out of control and there is no mechanism for shutting it off.

Kahlenborn et al. provided a second explanation for the link between OC use and the development of breast cancer.  They argued that OCs sometimes have an abortifacient effect because OCs can prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.  The team suggested that, "If this effect is associated with early hormonal shifts, as some data suggest, it could be an alternative mechanism for the carcinogenic effect of OCs, especially if used before FFTP."

Interestingly, the authors added that women who used the newer low-dose OCs have a higher breast cancer risk in comparison to women who used the older, high-dose OCs.  The increased breast cancer risk, said the authors, could be due to the use of "more potent progestins" in low-dose OCs. 

Progestin is a synthetic progesterone, a female hormone.  Progesterone levels normally increase during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.  "Oral contraceptives hyperstimulate breast cell division in the nulliparous (childless) breast," argued Kahlenbor n et al., "but have their greatest effect in the luteal phase, when progestin doses within low-dose triphasic OCs are highest.  Synthetic progestins appear to increase breast cancer risk."

Depo-provera is a progestin-only injection whose use is associated with a 190% increase in breast cancer risk.  As for the progestin-only mini-pills, the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute notes that "there are no long-term safety studies available." [3]

Remarkably, doctors at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) are anxious to perpetuate the mythology that use of OCs is "safe."  Early in October, ACOG assembled a group of experts (including one doctor from Planned Parenthood) to speak at a press conference about the supposed safety and efficacy of OC use.

ACOG's president, Douglas W. Laube, MD, MEd., stated that, "The Pill works; it's safe; it's easy to use; and it even provides noncontraceptive health benefits."

ACOG's website boasts that it "serves as a national co-sponsor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month."  Ironically, it's what ACOG's doctors DO that causes thousands more women to develop breast cancer.  Abortion and use of OCs and HRT have resulted in a more than 40% increase in breast cancer rates during the last three decades. [6]

Only one other medical organization is remembered for having placed its financial interests ahead of the best interests of patients - the American Medical Association (AMA).  In February 1964, the AMA opposed efforts in Congress to require cigarette manufacturers to warn consumers about the risks of smoking.  During the same month, the AMA accepted $10 million from the tobacco industry to study the relationship between smoking and cancer.

ACOG will go down in history beside the AMA. 

Who pays for the health-related consequences of abortion, the birth control pill and hormone replacement therapy?  Some women pay with their lives. Doctors pay higher medical malpractice premiums.  Consumers, taxpayers and employers pay higher medical bills and health insurance premiums. 



1. Kahlenborn C, Modugno F, Potter D, Severs W. Oral contraceptive use as a risk factor for premenopausal breast cancer: A metanalysis. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2006;81(10):1290-1302.

2. Writing group for the Women's Health Initiative Investigators. Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women. JAMA 2002;288:321-33.

3. See the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute's brochure, "If it's not OK for him to take steroids...why is it OK for her?" Available at

4. Cogliano V, Grosse Y, Baan R, Secretan B, El Ghissassi F. Carcinogenicity of combined oestrogen-progestagen contraceptives and menopausal treatment. Lancet Oncology 2005;6:552-553.

5. Press Release No. 167, "IARC Monographs Programme Finds Combined Estrogen-Progestogen Contraceptives (the "pill") and Menopausal Therapy Are Carcinogenic to Humans," World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer, July 29, 2005. See

6. Howe HL, Wingo PA, Thun MJ, Ries LA, Rosenberg HM, Feigal EG, Edwards BK. Annual report to the nation on the status of cancer, 1973 through 1998, featuring cancers with recent increasing trends. J Natl Cancer Inst 2001;93:824-842.

The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer is an international women's organization founded to protect the health and save the lives of women by educating and providing information on abortion as a risk factor for breast cancer.

Tax-deductible, credit card donations can be made at Donations can be mailed to: the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, P.O. Box 957133, Hoffman Estates, IL 60195. The IRS recognizes the coalition as a 501(c)3 organization.


Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer

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