[Induced abortion and risk of breast cancer]

M Melbye, J Wohlfahrt, J H Olsen, M Frisch, T Westergaard, K Helweg-Larsen, P K Andersen
Ugeskrift for Laeger 1998 August 31, 160 (36): 5178-82
It has been hypothesized that an interrupted pregnancy might increase the risk of breast cancer, because proliferation of breast cells will take place without the protective effect of subsequent differentiation. In a cohort of 1.5 million women (28.5 million person-years) we identified 370,715 induced abortions in 280,965 women (2.7 million person-years) and 10,246 women with breast cancer. After adjustment for other risk factors, induced abortion was not associated with the risk of breast cancer (relative risk: 1.00; 95 percent confidence interval 0.94 to 1.06). However, the relative risk of breast cancer increased with increasing gestational age of the most recently induced abortion: < 7 weeks: 0.81; 7 to 8 weeks; 1.01; 9 to 10 weeks: 1 (reference); 11 to 12 weeks: 1.12; 13 to 14 weeks: 1.13; 15 to 18 weeks: 1.23; > 18 weeks: 1.89; P(trend) = 0.016. On a population basis, induced abortion was not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. An increase was only seen for the special group of late second trimester abortions, but this finding was based on small numbers.

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