Induced abortion in relation to breast cancer among parous women: a birth certificate registry study

Epidemiology. 2000 Mar;11(2):177-80. doi: 10.1097/00001648-200003000-00016.


We wished to assess the relation of induced abortion to the subsequent incidence of breast cancer among parous women, using a design that would prevent the possibility of differentially complete reporting of abortion history by women with breast cancer and controls. Our study was conducted within a cohort of women who gave birth to a child during 1984-1994 while residing in 13 counties of western Washington. Cases were women from the cohort diagnosed with breast cancer between 1984 and 1994. From the remaining cohort members, five controls were matched to each woman with breast cancer by year of index birth (ie, the last child born before breast cancer diagnosis) and by age at delivery. We categorized 463 cases and 2,201 controls according to history of induced abortion as recorded on the index birth certificate. The risk of breast cancer was not found to be associated with a prior induced abortion (estimated relative risk (RR) = 0.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.7-1.2). These results suggest that an induced abortion, if followed at some later time by pregnancy and childbirth, does not increase a woman's risk of breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / adverse effects*
  • Adult
  • Birth Certificates
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Registries
  • SEER Program
  • Washington / epidemiology