Dennis M. Howard
Who should women listen to?
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By Dennis Howard and Anne Reisner
November 26, 2014

When it comes to breast cancer, who should young women listen to?

Your doctor? Your favorite woman's health magazine? Or the politicians leading the fight against the so-called "war on women?"

According to Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, noted breast cancer surgeon and president of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, the answer may be "none of the above."

In a talk to the Legal Center for the Defense of Life in Morristown, Lanfranchi said that widespread acceptance of abortion is one of the most important factors in increasing the U.S. breast cancer rate since 1970. She said, "Breast cancer is one of only four forms of cancer that are still on the rise."

Lanfranchi said the chances of a woman having breast cancer by age 40 rose from 8% of all women in 1970 to over 14% by 1990. That has since declined to 12.5% (about 1 in 8 women) after hormone replacement therapy was stopped as standard treatment for menopausal women over 50. Nearly all of that decline came from women in that same age group.

Dr. Lanfranchi also talked about her latest book, "Complications: Abortion's Impact on Women," which she co-authored with Ian Gentles and Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy of the deVeber Institute for Bioethics in Canada.

Lanfranchi is also co-author of "Breast Cancer Risks and Prevention," a comprehensive booklet on breast cancer risks, which is downloadable from the BCP website at: http://www.bcpinstitute.org/booklet4.htm

LanFranchi cited research from dozens of studies from all over the world that point to a strong breast cancer/abortion linkage. In the U.S., she said, "The invasive breast cancer rate has increased 40% since Roe v. Wade while in situ cancers have risen by 400% over the same period."

In her book, Lanfranchi noted that women in groups with higher abortion rates (including minorities targeted by Planned Parenthood) also have higher breast cancer rates. "Yet in the face of all this evidence, the National Cancer Institute continues to deny the breast cancer/abortion link." She said the explanation "appears to be mainly political."

So what should women do to minimize their risk?

If you're young, your doctor may not even bring up the subject unless you're close to age 40, when screening for breast cancer begins. That's also when insurance companies are finally willing to underwrite diagnostic mammograms. Until then, your best hope for early detection is regular breast self-examination.

But don't look for help to your favorite women's magazine or to politicians attacking the so-called "war on women." Because of politically correct media and political bias, they are among the leading deniers of the breast cancer/abortion connection.

The good news, however, is that, except for genetic predisposition to breast cancer (often revealed by family history) and occasional anomalies, minimizing a young woman's risk of future breast cancer is achievable by avoiding certain behaviors.

High risk behaviors include:
  • Having an abortion before age 18 falls in the very high risk category, especially if you have a genetic predisposition or a family history of breast cancer. Having more than one abortion will increase the risk even more.

  • Still risky is not having one or more completed pregnancies before age 30, not having children at all, and premature termination of pregnancy before 32 weeks.

  • Regular use of contraceptive steroids in any form, (e.g., "the Pill"), alcohol use and cigarette smoking, late menopause, post-menopausal obesity, and 2nd trimester miscarriages are other factors that can increase the risk.
Behaviors that protect against future breast cancer include:
    Getting married and having children earlier (each additional full-term pregnancy reduces future breast cancer risk by 10%) and breast feeding also reduce risk. So will early menopause, and/or late onset of first menstrual cycle. Including cruciform vegetables like broccoli in your diet may also help.
How and why do these things work?

To understand that, you need to know how a woman's body works, especially how her milk glands (called lobules) mature in the course of a full-term pregnancy. There are basically four types of milk glands and two of these are the most susceptible to future breast cancer. These include: Type 1, which are present at birth, and Type 2, which form during puberty when estrogen levels rise and the breasts develop.

Type 1 are where 85% of all breast cancers start as ductal cancers. Type 2 are the source of 10-15% of breast cancers, called lobular cancer.

Type 4 lobules are resistant to cancer, but they don't form until late in pregnancy when the mother's body is preparing to give milk. A full term pregnancy permits this maturation to occur, greatly reducing future cancer risk. When breast-feeding ends, these become mature Type 3 lobules, which are also resistant to cancer.

Dr. Lanfranchi says, "After a full-term pregnancy, only about 15% of a woman's breast tissue remains susceptible to cancer. It is the changes that occur during a full-term pregnancy that provide lifetime protection. A woman who aborts an early pregnancy denies herself this protection against breast cancer."

Regular use of contraceptive steroids also increases risk. Indeed, they work to prevent conception by simulating early pregnancy without the natural protection that arises by bringing a pregnancy to full term, followed by breast feeding.

Similarly, the more abortions a woman has, the greater her susceptibility to future breast cancer. She is living with high levels of estrogen during early-to-mid-pregnancy and gaining none of the protective value that comes with full-term pregnancies.

In short, what works best for the baby also works best for the mother.

So what can women and their families do to fight the increase in breast cancer that has marred so many more lives since the abortion epidemic began?

First, we all need to become better informed. Books like Dr. Lanfranchi's are a first step in disseminating basic information that organizations like Planned Parenthood prefer to suppress. Women should buy it and read it, call it to the attention of their doctors, and see that copies get into public and college libraries.

The comprehensive booklet, "Breast Cancer Risks and Prevention," can be downloaded free from the BCP website: http://www.bcpinstitute.org

Churches are encouraged to buy this booklet in bulk for distribution to the young women in their parish. It's available in both English and Spanish for $1.25 copy plus shipping in quantities of 100 or more. http://www.bcpinstitute.org/order.htm

Finally, pass this email along to anyone you know
who may be affected by the risk of breast cancer. As any breast cancer survivor can tell you, having to deal with breast cancer is a major challenge in any woman's life . . . and indeed in any family's experience. This article will also be posted on the Movement for a Better America website at: http://bit.ly/1nZN6S9

© Dennis Howard and Anne Reisner

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Dennis M. Howard

Dennis M. Howard is founder and president of The Movement for a Better America, a non-profit, pro-life educational organization. Before starting MBA in 1995, he had a long and successful career in journalism and creative marketing. He has been writing since 1950, when he helped launch The Sun Herald of Kansas City, America's last attempt at publishing a Catholic daily... (more)

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