Does An Abortion Increase Your Risk Of Breast Cancer?
Abortion is not considered one of the breast cancer risk factors, which include age, obesity, and family history. Research has found no link between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer. While a small batch of studies may suggest a possible connection, an overwhelming amount of research indicates otherwise.
Concerns over a possible link between abortion and breast cancer have to do with changes in hormone levels during an abortion. Hormones like estrogen and progesterone can fuel the abnormal growth of breast cells.
There are two types of abortion:
- Spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, is the unintentional loss of a baby in the first five months of pregnancy.
- Induced abortion is a procedure that’s done to end a pregnancy.
Researchers have studied the effects of both types of abortion on breast cancer, and they haven’t found a connection.
What are the potential causes of breast cancer?
Women who are exposed to higher levels of estrogen — for example, because they have had their menstrual periods for a longer length of time or take birth control — have a slightly higher breast cancer risk.
Other risks include:
- Age. Most breast cancers are diagnosed in women over 50.
- Genes. Mutations to BRCA1, BRCA2, and other genes that run in families increase the risk.
- Early periods or late menopause. The earlier a woman’s period starts and the later it stops, the longer her body is exposed to estrogen.
- Late pregnancy or no pregnancy. Getting pregnant for the first time after age 30 or not having children can increase your risk.
- Taking birth control pills or hormone therapy. These pills contain estrogen, which can encourage breast cancer growth.
- Obesity. Women who are overweight or inactive are more likely to get breast cancer.
- Alcohol use. The more alcohol you drink, the more your risk increases.