Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Medical Journals Censoring Abortion-Breast Cancer Debate

Important News from the Coalition on Abortion-Breast Cancer
Coalition onAbortion/Breast Cancer
P.O. Box 957133, Hoffman Estates, IL 60195

Press ReleaseContact: Karen Malec
For Immediate Release
Date: August 17, 2004

Medical Journals Censoring Scientific Debate on Abortion-Breast Cancer Link,Says Women's Group

The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer deplores the fact that two medicaljournals have resorted to censorship for the purpose of suppressingscientific debate and academic criticism of flawed research on theabortion-breast cancer (ABC) link. [1,2] The journals, Lancet and CancerEpidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, refused to publish letters criticalof research showing little or no relationship between abortion and increasedbreast cancer risk."The editors of these journals are silencing experts who dissent from theview that abortion is unrelated to increased risk of breast cancer," arguedKaren Malec, president of the coalition. "The editors don't want a fullscale scientific examination of the ABC link because they know abortioncauses breast cancer. If science were on their side, then they wouldn'thave to resort to petty censorship. They could dispose of the link handilythrough the use of a full scale scientific investigation and debate."Recognition of the ABC link," continued Mrs. Malec, "could embarrassleading researchers and the cancer fundraising industry. Nevertheless, theincreasing incidence and importance of female breast cancer merits thefullest scientific investigation and discussion."The British journal Lancet rejected for publication letters from twoexperts, Chris Kahlenborn, MD and Patrick Carroll. Kahlenborn authored thebook, Breast Cancer: It's Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill.Carroll is a British actuary and statistician and the research director forthe Pension and Population Research Institute in London. His research on theABC link has been published by other reputable journals. [3,4]The journal, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, rejected aletter from Joel Brind, Ph.D., professor of endocrinology at Baruch College,City University of New York. Brind was the lead author in the onlyquantitative and comprehensive review and meta-analysis of the ABC research.[5]Carroll emphasized the limitations of all sample-based research. Hisresearch uses historic national data, not samples. It is free of anypossibility of recall bias.Brind and Kahlenborn provided evidence discrediting a favorite theory ofabortion advocates known as "recall bias.""The editors' censorship should be a red flag for women," declared Mrs.Malec. "Scientific misconduct and bias against positive findings have beena serious problem plaguing ABC research for a half-century."The letters by Kahlenborn, Carroll and Brind and the coalition'sexplanations of their criticisms are published at:The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer is an international women'sorganization founded to protect the health and save the lives of women byeducating and providing information on abortion as a risk factor for breastcancer.References:1. Beral V, Bull D, Doll R, Peto R, Reeves G. Lancet (2004) 363:1007-16. 2.Mahue-Giangreco M et al. (March 2003) Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers andPrevention, Vol. 12, 209-214. 3. "Pregnancy Related Risk Factors in FemaleBreast Cancer Incidence." International Congress of Actuaries, Transactions(2002) 4:331-75. 4. "Trends and Risk Factors in English Breast Cancers."British Journal of Cancer. Vol 91, Supplement 1, July 2004, page S24. 5.Brind J et al. (1996) J Epidemiol Community Health 50:481-96. SUMMARIES OF LETTERS TO MEDICAL JOURNALSChris Kahlenborn's Letter to the Lancet Regarding Beral et al. 2004In his letter, Kahlenborn criticized a review of the research by Oxfordscientists. [1] He said the Oxford team "failed to accurately portray theworld's literature."Oxford scientists cited a prospective Swedish study by Lindefors-Harris etal. to support their argument that prospective studies are more reliablethan retrospective studies. [2] At one time, Lindefors-Harris et al.claimed to have found credible evidence of recall bias. They made thepreposterous claim that they'd found evidence that women report moreabortions than they really had. If it were true that more patients thanhealthy women overreport their abortions, then findings from researchrelying on women's reports of their abortions- retrospective research -would be false.The Swedish group, however, withdrew their absurd claim in 1998 afterreceiving criticism from two teams of scientists. [3,4,5] They admitted thatthe computerized medical records of abortions they used might be incomplete.Prospective research has severe limitations because women tend not to reporttheir abortions and often travel at a distance to get abortions that aremore anonymous. The lesson to be learned is that even prospective researchcan be seriously flawed if medical records of abortion histories aredeficient.Kahlenborn said Oxford scientists failed to "critically examine the qualityof the prospective studies" and that over one-third of their data representunpublished studies which other scientists "will never be able todouble-check."Follow this link to view Chris Kahlenborn's Letter:http://www.abortionbreastcancer.com/letters/kahlenborn/index.htmPatrick Carroll's Letter to the Lancet Regarding Beral et al. 2004 [1]In his letter, Carroll said the Lancet's credibility is "impaired by thefailure throughout the world to fully record induced abortions." Referringto a prospective study on British women by Goldacre et al., Carroll assertedthat the authors "found only a small fraction of the women that could havebeen expected to have had abortions from what is known from nationalincidence data." [7]Carroll added that if a British study can have so many unrecorded abortions,then under-recording must be even more prevalent in countries that legalizedabortion after Great Britain did in 1967. Carroll said many of theabortions relevant to the Oxford paper, which were performed in othercountries, were illegal. Therefore, women in other countries will be morereluctant to admit to having had abortions than British women will be.Prospective research isn't the "gold standard" in epidemiological researchthat some say it is because medical records are deficient in capturing allabortions. Carroll concluded that a better way to conduct an investigationof the ABC link is to use national data that can be correlated to successiveage groups.Carroll's research relied on historic national data reporting breast cancersand abortions in England and Wales. [4] He used the data to make forecastsof breast cancer trends. England and Wales have exceptionally thoroughregistrations of breast cancers and abortions. Therefore, nearly allabortions are captured by official statistics. He found that abortion is the"best predictor of English breast cancer trends and, in particular, theincrease in breast cancer incidence."Follow this link to view Patrick Carroll's Letter:http://www.abortionbreastcancer.com/letters/carroll/index.htmJoel Brind's Letter to Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and PreventionRegarding Mahue-Giangreco et al. 2003In his letter, Joel Brind criticized a California study by Mahue-Giangrecoet al. 2003, which found no increased breast cancer risk associated withabortion. [6]Brind noted that Mahue-Giangreco et al. had the highest patient refusal rateof all of the ABC studies (11.5%). What this means is that a significantnumber of eligible breast cancer patients refused to participate as subjectsin the study. Brind observed, "This high rate of patient refusal mayreflect the sensitive nature of induced abortion, and the consequentreluctance of women to report it."Brind argued that abortion advocates in the scientific community have oftentheorized that healthy women are more reluctant to report their abortionsthan are breast cancer patients, but credible evidence of recall bias hasnever been provided. Additionally, scientists have repeatedly demonstratedthat it doesn't exist. [4,8,9]What would cause so many women to refuse to participate as study subjects inan ABC study? Brind offered a very reasonable answer - their desire to keeptheir abortions secret. It makes little sense to follow abortion advocates'line of reasoning - that women who don't want to talk about their abortionschoose to join ABC studies, but then they lie to researchers about theirabortion histories. That is the faulty line of reasoning that abortionadvocates are proposing when they argue that recall bias is a problemplaguing retrospective research.Brind took his argument one step farther and asked his readers to considerhow scientists' findings might be impacted if the number of women withdeclared abortions are underrepresented in the patient group. He remarkedthat the prevalence of abortion among patients included in the study shouldhave been 30% higher. That would accurately reflect the prevalence ofabortion in California during the years that most of the abortions in thestudy were performed. If the correct number of abortion-positive breastcancer patients had participated in the study, then the risk elevation wouldhave been 20Follow this link to view Joel Brind's Letter:http://www.abortionbreastcancer.com/letters/brind/index.htmReferences:1. Beral V, Bull D, Doll R, Peto R, Reeves G. Lancet (2004) 363:1007-16. 2.Lindefors-Harris et al. (1991) Am J Epidemiol 134:1003-1008. 3. Meirik etal. (1998) J Epidemiol Community Health 52:209. 4. Daling et al. (1994) JNatl Cancer Inst 86:1584-92. 5. Brind et al. (1998) J Epidemiol CommunityHealth 52:209-11. 6. Mahue-Giangreco M et al. (March 2003) CancerEpidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, Vol. 12, 209-214. 7. Goldacre MJ, etal. J Epidemiol Community Health (2001) 55:336-337. 8. Howe et al. (1989)Int J Epidemiol 18:300-4. 9. Tang et al, Case-control differences in thereliability of reporting a history of induced abortion, Am J Epidemiol,2000, 151:1139-43.These summaries can also be found online at:http://www.abortionbreastcancer.com/letters/index.htmThe Coalition on Abortion-Breast CancerP.O. Box 152 Palos Heights, IL 60463 Toll Free: 877.803.0102 Local Calls: 847.421.4000Email: response@abortionbreastcancer.com