Given the toll that breast cancer exacts on women, it is both appropriate and commendable that The Advocate recently allowed so much space for discussion of this disease.

However, little was written on prevention — which is usually far less expensive to implement than treatment — other than general comments on healthy nutrition, and bilateral mastectomy for those women at high risk for the inheritable form.

There was no comment on the link between induced abortion, contraceptives and breast cancer, nor on the protective effect of a first, full-term pregnancy.

Based on a very recent international conference of obstetricians and gynecologists in Rome, Italy, and as a physician and medical scientist, I feel compelled to bring the following to the attention of your readers:

After beginning menstruation, a woman’s entire, intricate hormonal physiology and much of her innate psychology revolves around the fulfillment of her reproductive capability, as embodied in her periodic fertility until menopause.

Tinkering with this process, especially by interrupting pregnancy, or by hormonally inducing a state of false pregnancy (“the pill”), has negative consequences.

Medical estrogen is classified by the World Health Organization as a Class II carcinogen; after 5-12 years of pill use, cervical cancer rates double.

Also, in a 2009 study co-authored by Dr. Louise Brinton of the National Cancer Institute, “a statistically significant 40 percent increased risk [of breast cancer] for women who have abortions” was found, as was “a 320 percent increased risk of triple negative breast cancer among recent users (within 1-5 years) of oral contraceptives.”

In contrast, and hereditary factors aside, a first, full-term pregnancy confers a protective effect against later breast cancer that is lost through induced abortion (which also markedly increases the rate of premature birth).

According to 16 of 17 statistically significant studies done in Japan, abortion produced an independent risk for breast cancer, while four conducted within the past year and a half in the United States, China, Turkey and Sri Lanka, similarly concluded that “induced abortion was associated with increased breast cancer risk.”

Finally, an epidemiologic study conducted in a localized area in Britain several years ago showed such a close relationship between abortion and subsequent breast cancer that the authors were able to predict a later rise in annual breast cancer rates in the study area.

Clearly, not all women who develop breast cancer have had an abortion.

Nevertheless, in the context of “Every woman counts,” and wanting to “Stop the silence” — phrases from The Advocate’s pink breast cancer insert — while recognizing that there have been at least 53 million abortions done in the United States during the past 38-plus years, this information must be made available to help women prevent breast (and cervical) cancer!

W.A. KROTOSKI, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

president, The Hippocratic Resource

Baton Rouge