The two breast cancer risk factors your doctor never told you about

The two breast cancer risk factors your doctor never told you about

When I put my stethoscope away and started medical reporting, I set my goal to report the truth even if it was damaging to me personally. That’s why I started attacking fluoride 30 years ago and immunizations 25 years ago. Then came “asbestos is good” and a boon to mankind; “cholesterol is good” and an essential nutrient; and “DDT is good”-in fact so good that it may turn out to be a nutrient in itself; and on and on. It’s hard to report some of these “negative” things-they usually hurt your image and your “ratings.” It is a dirty job, but some darn fool has to do it. And the next item on this list definitely isn’t going to win me any popularity contests either. It’s a subject that millions don’t like to think about: abortion and its consequences.

Now, I’m not getting into a moral or religious argument here. I’m talking strictly from a health perspective. Believe me, this perspective is frightening enough all on its own. Breast cancer risk increases 270 percent... As it turns out, more than 30 studies have confirmed a relationship between having an abortion and the subsequent development of breast cancer. Dr. Joel Brind, professor of biology and endocrinology at Baruch College in New York, has been crusading to get this information to the public for years, but not one magazine or newspaper has been willing to print his findings. In 1999, his research was finally reported in Lancet, a British medical journal, which, in my opinion, is one of the few honest and uncorrupted medical journals left. But how often do you read the Lancet? How often does your doctor read it, for that matter? Probably never. If it isn’t printed in the Journal of the American Medical Association or the New England Journal of Medicine, it doesn’t exist for many MDs.

But whether or not many physicians have seen this research, it’s still there.

Even before Dr. Brind’s Lancet article, back in November 1994, a National Cancer Institute (NCI) study done at Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington, disclosed some very similar-and very disturbing-things. The research disclosed that if an abortion was performed before age 18, the risk of breast cancer increased by 150 percent. If the woman was over 30 and had a family history of mother, sister, grandmother, or aunt with breast cancer the risk went up by 270 percent.

The most ominous finding was that every woman who had an abortion before age 18 and had a family history of breast cancer developed this disease herself by the age of 45.

Again, I’m just reporting the facts on this one, but it is quite a shame. The guilt is heavy enough in many of these women-and now they have to face the anxiety of the possible consequences.

The other risk factor you’re exposed to every day

But this isn’t the only mass felony against women. There’s another, even more common, occurrence that increases a woman’s breast cancer risk: simply wearing an underwire bra. The case is even more convincing than the abortion/cancer cases. While the reason for the increase in breast cancer after abortion is not clear, in the case of cancer and bras, the reason for the connection is perfectly clear once you understand the lymphatic system of the breast.

According to research, a woman who wears an underwire bra all the time, even to bed, is 125 times more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who has never worn one. The 24-hour bra wearers face a horrendous 75 percent chance of contracting breast cancer.

How many young women who could avoid this tragedy have been informed by their doctor, their government (including “the nation’s family doctor,” the surgeon general), or any of the health news services in the nation’s newspapers?

Action to take:

While abortion is a very personal decision that a woman must weigh very carefully, there’s no real thought given to wearing a bra: It’s just accepted as the way things are. But that doesn’t mean it’s the way things should be.

Don’t start your young daughter on a “training bra.” You are training her in a very dangerous habit.

Look for the book Dressed to Kill, by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer, in your local library or bookstore. If you can’t find it, it’s available from It is a must read for all women. After about two chapters, you’ll probably burn your bra and never look back.


“Abortion causes breast cancer,” News With Views (, 12/26/03

“Premature delivery and breast-cancer risk,” Lancet 1999; 354(9,176): 424

“Risk of breast cancer among young women: relationship to induced abortion.” J Natl Cancer Inst 1994; 86(21): 1,584-1,592

“Bras and Breast Cancer,” (, accessed 2/13/04.