St. Louis, MO — A physician who specializes in breast health asked a gathering of pro-life advocates October 21 to join a grass-roots movement to educate about the link between breast cancer and abortion.
Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, a New York-based physician, made her comments at the 25th annual Archdiocesan Pro-Life Convention on October 21 at the Millennium Hotel downtown.
The need for a grass-roots effort involving laypersons, she explained, is due to a reluctance by academicians to disseminate information on the subject, whether that's because they refuse to believe there is a link or they “don't want to be involved in this topic.”
Lanfranchi said there is evidence showing that women who have abortions, especially in their younger years, have a greater risk of developing breast cancer. Meanwhile, she said, carrying a pregnancy to full term lowers breast cancer risk. The purported link involves estrogen levels that occur naturally during pregnancy and the effect that abortion has on those levels.
Though abortion doesn't present an overwhelming risk, she acknowledged, “abortion is a completely avoidable risk factor.”
Lanfranchi said 13 out of 15 U.S. studies show an increased risk of developing breast cancer in women who have had abortions. But pro-abortion activists claim any such link is bogus.
An area official of Planned Parenthood claims that at least two dozen studies have examined such a link and determined there was none. The National Cancer Institute and high-profile medical societies similarly have dismissed any link, though such dismissals have been blamed on politics, not science.
Lanfranchi stands by her belief.
In 1999, she confronted a doctor who did not mention abortion during a talk on breast cancer risks. “What she said to me on the phone is, 'Look, abortion is a risk factor, it's not really a big one … but I don't choose to talk about it,'” Lanfranchi recalled.
Such reactions prompted Lanfranchi to establish the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., about three years ago. Through the organization, she has been able to study whether there is a link and get the word out on her findings and those of others.
She said the information should not be used as a “club” to batter women who have had abortions but rather, as a tool to help them avoid a risk.
“It's a woman's right to know,” said Lanfranchi, who advised her audience members to pray about the subject. “It's only right that a woman be informed of this risk.”