Breast cancer survivor’s message to women considering abortion

Marie tells her story:

To anyone who is pregnant, young or older and not sure what to do, I urge you and beg you to read my true story. Maybe you’re not pregnant and just reading this. Feel free to pass this on either way. When I was 20 years old, I became pregnant and like many, I was scared and not sure what to do. I listened to family members who told me that I had my whole life ahead of me and that having the baby would “ruin” my life. One family member even told me that I would get big and fat, that nobody (including my boyfriend), would want to be with me and would go elsewhere.

I had an ultrasound at only 5 weeks along and could clearly see the heart beat on the ultrasound screen, as small as it was. I was touched by this and so was my mom (grandma), witnessed it as well. However, as time went on, my anxiety, uncertainty, and indecisiveness grew. When I was close to 10 weeks along, I saw another ob/gyn whom a relative recommended who performed abortions on a regular basis. She let me hear the baby’s heartbeat loud and clear, telling me that the heart beat sounded healthy for unborn babies of this age in the womb. I still could not believe in it and was very overwhelmed. She told me that the time was very close to where I needed to decide whether or not to have an abortion since I was getting close to the end of the 1st trimester and the baby was very much developed, despite he/she being about two to three inches in length.

My boyfriend at the time wanted the baby. He would lay his head on my stomach and cry, saying things like, “I’m trying my best to save you.” He knew I was very overwhelmed and stressed and was having a very tough time making a decision. He really wanted to be a dad. On January 16, 1996, a relative who felt abortion was the “right” thing to do drove me to the clinic. I was crying the whole way there out of guilt and fear. We first got to a clinic and found out we were at the wrong place. I was still crying as I noticed a very pregnant woman announcing that she was pregnant with twins to someone. I felt then by the delay of arriving at the wrong place that this was one more sign I should not go through with it but…the increasing fear and anxiety of having a baby and the unknown of it all took over once again and we headed to the other place which was a surgical center. I sat in the waiting room and cried. My relative told me comfortingly, “I’m telling you, this is the most loving and caring decision you could make. The quality of life is as important as life itself.” Soon they wheeled me in on a gourney, me still being clearly emotional and in tears. Regardless, none of the staff or the doctor asked if I was sure I wanted to go through with this. Had they asked me, I would have said, “no” and walked out.

I was soon in the operating room. I remember seeing clear coiled tubes on a table which my unborn baby would be dismembered and sucked through and I heard cheerful music being played, as if it were just another routine “surgery” about to be performed. I woke up later in the recovery room feeling very drugged and almost in disbelief that my baby was gone. A part of me had wondered if maybe they could have made a mistake and I still had my baby inside of me somehow. When I had to wear pads throughout the day due to the typical bleeding that takes place after an abortion, the reality of the permanent decision I made became all too real.

Meantime, years passed and I discovered something else I least expected which made me realize abortion can kill or harm more than just an unborn baby. A year ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had surgery and radiation and declined chemo, as well as an estrogen receptor blocking drug called tamoxifen because both of these things can damage or destroy fertility and eggs. Being that I am in my late 30′s with no children, I just couldn’t see myself risking this. I’ve learned that even with fertility preserving methods such as freezing eggs, success rates are not very high so I made the decision not to go with all recommended treatments.

I don’t care what the doctors may tell you or may not want to tell you, abortion can greatly increase the risk of breast cancer. My type was lobular hormonal receptor positive and there are empirical scientific articles supported by research out there that clearly state there is a correlation between abortion and breast cancer because when a pregnancy is suddenly interrupted, there are changes in breast cells that take place because the cells are originally preparing to produce milk and the process is suddenly stopped, leading to the risk of irregular cell growth (cancer). These are not studies that are on religious sites or pro life sites. THESE ARE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLES that most doctors want to brush off. Don’t get me wrong, different factors can cause breast cancer and people can get it anyhow, but more than half the people who get it are much older than I and when you hear about younger people getting breast cancer, you really have to examine the situation and be educated about the abortion breast cancer link. I’m speaking from my own experience (and others’ out there). My experience speaks for itself. Keep in mind, I never drink, do drugs, etc, and have always tried to have a healthy lifestyle.

It’s an understatement to say that I regret my decision. Not only did I take an innocent unborn life, but part of my life was robbed as well. My child will never get to call me mom or blow out his/her birthday candles. He/she never had the chance to live because someone else chose for that baby. My child would have been 18 years old this August and I’m 38 now with no children. The father of my baby in heaven has since married and states he will probably never have the opportunity to have children again. I have not tried to get pregnant due to my career not being finished and my relationship situation being up in the air. I’ve never wanted to have a child out of wedlock and wanted to make sure that if I am blessed enough to become pregnant again, I want it to be the right situation. However, it’s reality that someone in their late 30′s has a much lower fertility rate than in their 20′s or early 30′s. Eggs age no matter what and in general, pregnancy is more difficult to achieve and maintain even if not impossible.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my child and what he/she would have looked like or been like personality wise. I always remember the August due date. Please know that there is a beating heart at only 3 weeks along and people don’t even know they are pregnant until way past then. Not only do I have to live with my decision but I also have the new health concern and threat of the breast cancer returning and having to wonder if it will rob my life too soon. If it weren’t for the abortion, there is a very high chance this concern would have never had to enter my mind. My story is proof that abortion can very well go beyond killing an unborn child…it can also haunt you later with a serious health threat (and possibly your life) down the road. I also have to now be concerned that with a possible future pregnancy, my hormone levels will go way up, possibly putting my risk of cancer recurrence very high. Not fun to have to worry about this and certainly not worth it!!!!!!!! Although it would not replace my unique child in heaven, I pray to be blessed with another baby and that I will be given another chance to have a baby in this life, living a long life with that child.

In closing, in memory of my child, I will share my story with as many as possible, in hopes they will take my story to heart and help to save unborn babies’ lives as more people choose against abortion. Please be aware that there are millions of people who cannot conceive and are on long wait lists for adoption, while tons of unborn babies are killed and devalued through abortion each minute. Please hear me, please trust me, abortion is not the easy way out! The reality of the decision will come back to haunt you later in life, (if not right away), emotionally and/or health wise!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at caremints@aol.com and I will be there for you. Thanks for reading my story!!!

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Here are a list of studies that show that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. They are in chronological order:

Segi M, et al. An epidemiological study on cancer in Japan. GANN. 48 1957;1–63.

Watanabe H, et al. Epidemiology and clinical aspects of breast cancer. [in Japanese], Nippon Rinsho 26, no. 8. 1968;1843–1849.

Dvoyrin VV, et al. Role of women’s reproductive status in the development of breast cancer. Methods and Progress in Breast cancer Epidemiology Research Tallin 1978;53-63.

Pike MC, et al. Oral contraceptive use and early abortion as risk factors for breast cancer in young women. Br J Cancer 43, no. 1. 1981;72-6.

Nishhiyama, F. The epidemiology of breast cancer in Tokushima prefecture. Shikoku Ichi 1982; 38:333-43 (in Japanese).

Brinton LA, et al. Reproductive factors in the etiology of breast cancer. Br J Cancer 47, no. 6. 1983:757-762.

Le M-G, Bachelot A, et al. Oral contraceptive use and breast or cervical cancer: Preliminary results of a case-control study In: Wolff J-P, Scott JS, eds. Hormones and sexual factors in human cancer aetiology. Amsterdam: Elsevier 1984:139-47.

Hirohata T, et al. Occurrence of breast cancer in relation to diet and reproductive history: a case-control study in Fukuoka, Japan. Natl Cancer Inst Monographs 69 1985:187-90.

LaVecchia C, et al. General epidemiology of breast cancer in northern Italy. Intl J of Epidemiol. 1987;16 3:347-355.

Ewertz M, et al. Risk of breast cancer in relation to reproductive factors in Denmark. Br J Cancer 58, no. 1 1988:99-104.

Luporsi E. (1988), in Andrieu N, Duffy SW, Rohan TE, Le MG, Luporsi E, Gerber M, Renaud R, Zaridze DG, Lifanova Y, Day NE. Familial risk, abortion and their interactive effect on the risk of breast cancer—a combined analysis of six case-control studies. Br J Cancer 1995;72:744-751.

Zaridze DG. (1988) in Andrieu N, Duffy SW, Rohan TE, Le MG, Luporsi E, Gerber M, Renaud R, Zaridze DG, Lifanova Y, Day NE. Familial risk, abortion and their interactive effect on the risk of breast cancer—a combined analysis of six case-control studies. Br J Cancer 1995;72:744-751.

Rosenberg L, et al. Breast cancer in relation to the occurrence and the time of the induced and spontaneous abortion. Amer J Epidemiol 127, no. 5 1988:981-989.

Howe HL, et al. Early abortion and breast cancer risk among women under age 40. Intl J Epidemiol 18, no 2 1989:300-4.

Remennick L. Reproductive patterns in cancer incidence in women: A population based correlation study in the USSR. Intl J Epidemiol 1989 (18) 3:498-510.

Adami HO, et al. Absence of association between reproductive variables and the risk of breast cancer in young women in Sweden and Norway. Br J Cancer 62, no 1 1990:122–6.

Laing AE, et al. Breast cancer risk factors in African-American women: The Howard University tumor registry experience. J Natl Med Assoc 85 1993:931-939.

Andrieu N, Clavel F, Gairard B, Piana L, Bremond A, Lansac J, Flamant R, Renaud R. Familial risk of breast cancer and abortion. Cancer Detect Prevent 1994;18(1):51-55.

Daling JR, et al. Risk of breast cancer among young women: relationship to induced abortion. J Natl Cancer Inst 86, no. 21 1994;1584-92.

Laing AE, et al. Reproductive and lifestyle factors for breast cancer in African-American women. Gent Epidemiol 1994;11:A300.

White E, et al. Breast cancer among young US women in relation to oral contraceptive use. J Natl Cancer Inst 1994;86:505-14.

Andrieu N, Duffy SW, Rohan TE, Le MG, Luporsi E, Gerber M, Renaud R, Zaridze DG, Lifanova Y, Day NE. Familial risk, abortion and their interactive effect on the risk of breast cancer—a combined analysis of six case-control studies. Br J Cancer 1995;72:744-751.

Bu L, et al. Risk of breast cancer associated with induced abortion in a population at low risk of breast cancer. Amer J Epidemiol 141 1995;S85.

Lipworth L, et al. Abortion and the risk of breast cancer: a case-control study in Greece. Intl J Cancer 61, no. 2 1995;181-4.

Rookus MA, et al. Breast Cancer risk after an induced abortion, a Dutch case-control study. Amer J Epidemiol 1995;141:S54 (abstract 214).

Daling JR, Brinton LA, Voigt LF, et al. Risk of breast cancer among white women following induced abortion. Amer J Epidemiol 1996;144:373-380.

Newcomb PA, et al. Pregnancy termination in relation to risk of breast cancer. J Amer Med Assoc 275, no. 4 1996:283-287.

Rookus MA, van Leeuwan FE. Induced abortion and risk for breast cancer: reporting (recall) bias in a Dutch case-control study. J Natl Cancer Inst 1996;88:1759-1764.

Talamini, R, et al. The role of reproductive and menstrual factors in cancer of the breast before and after menopause. European J Cancer 32, no. 2 1996:303-310.

Tavani A, La Vecchia C, Franceschi S, Negri E, D’avanao B, Decarli A. Abortion and breast cancer risk. Intl J Cancer 1996;65:401-05.

Wu AH, et al. Menstrual and reproductive factors and risk of breast cancer in Asian-Americans. Br J Cancer 73, no. 5 1996:680-6.

Melbye M, et al. Induced abortion and the risk of breast cancer. N Engl J Med 336, no. 2. 1997:81-85.

Palmer J. Induced and spontaneous abortion in relation to risk of breast cancer. Cancer Causes and Control 8, no. 6 1997:841-849.

Fioretti F. Risk factors for breast cancer in nulliparous women. Br J Cancer 1999 78 (11/12) 1923-1928.

Marcus, PM, et al. Adolescent reproductive events and subsequent breast cancer risk. Amer J Public Health 89, no. 8 1999:1244-1247.

Lazovich D, et al. Induced abortion and breast cancer risk.Epidemiol 11, no. 1 2000:76-80.

Robertson C, et al. The association between induced and spontaneous abortion and risk of breast cancer in Slovenian women aged 25-54. Breast 2001;10:291-298.

Sanderson M, et al. Abortion history and breast cancer risk: Results from the Shangai Breast Cancer Study. Intl J Cancer 96, no. 6 2001:899-905.

Ye Z, et al. Breast cancer in relation to induced abortions in a cohort of Chinese women. Br J Cancer 87, no. 9. 2002:976.

Becher H, Schmidt S, Chang-Claude J. Reproductive factors and familial predisposition for breast cancer by age 50 years. A Case control family study for assessing main effects and possible gene-environment interaction. Intl J Epidemiol 2003;32:38-50.

Mahue-Giangreco M, Ursin G, Sullivan-Halley J, Bernstein L. Induced abortion, miscarriage, and breast cancer risk of young women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers & Prev 2003;12:209-214.

Meeske K, et al. Impact of reproductive factors and lactation on breast carcinomas in situ. Intl J Cancer 2004 110:103-109.

Palmer JR, et al. A prospective study of induced abortion and breast cancer in African-American women. Cancer Causes & Control 15, no. 2 2004:105-11.

Rosenblatt K. Induced abortions and the risk of all cancers combined and site-specific cancers in Shanghai. Cancer Causes and Control 17, no. 10 2006:1275-1280.

Tehranian N, et al. The effect of abortion on the risk of breast cancer. Iranian study presented at a conference at McMaster University. Available at:http://www.hdl.handle.net/10755/163877.

Naieni K, et al. Risk factors of breast cancer in north of Iran: a case-control in Mazandaran Province. Asian Pacific J Cancer Prev 8, no. 3 2007:395-8.

Henderson K. Incomplete pregnancy is not associated with breast cancer risk: the California Teachers Study. Contraception 77, no. 6 2008:391-396.

Lin, J et al. A case control study on risk factors of breast cancer among women in Cixi. Zhejiang Preventive Medicine, vol. 20, no. 6 June 2008:3-5.

Dolle J, et al. Risk Factors for Triple-negative breast cancer in women under the age of 45 years. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 18, no. 4 2009:1157–66.

Ozmen V, et al. Breast cancer risk factors in Turkish women–a University Hospital based nested case control study. World J Surgical Oncology 7, no. 37 2009.

Xing P, et al. A case–control study of reproductive factors associated with subtypes of breast cancer in Northeast China. Medical Oncology 2009

Khachatryan L, et al. Influence of diabetes mellitus type 2 and prolonged estrogen exposure on risk of breast cancer among women in Armenia. Health Care for Women Intl, no. 32 2011:953-971.

Jiang AR, et al. Abortions and breast cancer risk in premenopausal and postmenopausal women in Jiangsu Province of China. Asian Pacific J Cancer Prev 2012;13:33-35. Available at: http://www.apjcpcontrol.org/page/popup_paper_file_view.php?pno=MzMtMzUgMTIuMiZrY29kZT0yNzAxJmZubz0w&pgubun=i

Jiang AR, et al. Abortions and breast cancer risk in premenopausal and postmenopausal women in Jiangsu Province of China. Asian Pacific J Cancer Prev 2012;13:33-35. Available at: http://www.apjcpcontrol.org/page/popup_paper_file_view.php?pno=MzMtMzUgMTIuMiZrY29kZT0yNzAxJmZubz0w&pgubun=i

Yanhua, C, et al. Reproductive Variables and Risk of Breast Malignant and Benign Tumours in Yunnan Province, China. Asian Pacific J Cancer Prev 2012;13, 2179-2184.

Kamath R, et al. A study on risk factors of breast cancer among patients attending the tertiary care hospital in Udupi district. Indian J Community Med 2013;38(2)95-99.

Jabeen S, et al. Breast cancer and some epidemiological risk factors: A hospital based study, J Dhaka Med Coll 2013;22(1)61-66.

Huang, Yubei, et. al. A meta-analysis of the association between induced abortion and breast cancer risk among Chinese females. Cancer Causes Control. Cancer Causes Control Accepted Nov 11, 2013.

For more information, and to read about the science behind the abortion/breast cancer link, visit the Coalition of Abortion and Breast Cancer

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About Sarah

Sarah Terzo is a freelance writer and journalist who works for Live Action. and is a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.
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