Book Review

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Breast Cancer: Its Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill

Chris Kahlenborn, M.D.
One More Soul

This book is an eye-opening look at the risk of breast cancer associated with the use of birth control pills.

This extremely well-referenced book provides an enormous amount of research information on how induced abortion and the use of oral contraceptives influence the risk of developing breast cancer. This is a very controversial topic, and the author does an excellent job of clarifying the issues and the research. The take-home messages include:

  • In order to develop normally, the breast requires a proper level and balance of both estradiol and progesterone. If the breast is exposed to a rapid fall in hormone levels or to synthetic estrogens and/or progestins, it may be at risk of becoming cancerous.
  • Birth control pills that contain synthetic estrogens and progestins put the breast cells of younger women at risk because these hormones increase the rate of cell division.
  • Birth control pills work, first, by inhibiting ovulation; second, by thickening cervical mucous; and third, by thinning the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium). When a patient takes combined estrogen/ progestin birth control pills, it is estimated that break-through ovulation occurs at least 5% to 10% of the time. If a woman ovulates and the egg is fertilized but not allowed to implant, the woman has an induced abortion because of the third mechanism.
  • When a woman becomes pregnant, she experiences a dramatic increase in her hormone levels of estradiol, progesterone, and human chorionic gonadotropin. The increase in hormone levels induces breast cells to divide and mature (differentiate), which continues throughout a woman’s pregnancy and is completed only after her term baby is delivered.
  • When a woman has an induced abortion, her hormone levels fall rapidly, which leaves her breast cells in a transitional state in which they have not completely matured (differentiated) and are vulnerable to carcinogens.

Reviewed By:  Dana Reed-Kane, PharmD, FIACP, FACA, FCP, NFPPhC
In:  Jul/Aug 2003