, Volume 17, Issue 10, pp 1275-1280

Induced abortions and the risk of all cancers combined and site-specific cancers in Shanghai

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Although some previous case–control studies found an increased risk of breast cancer in women who had an induced abortion, the evidence from prospective studies suggests that induced abortions do not cause breast cancer. We have assessed risks of 12 types of cancer in women who have had induced abortions in a prospective study in China. Female textile workers (n = 267,400) completed a baseline questionnaire (1989–1991) that ascertained information on the major risk factors for breast cancer, contraceptive use, and induced abortions and were actively followed until July 2000. Cox Proportional Hazards analysis was used to calculate incidence rate ratios for specific types of cancer in women who ever had an induced abortion and by number of induced abortions. Women who had had an abortion were not at increased risk of cancer. There was a significant reduction in risk of uterine corpus cancer in women who had ever had an induced abortion, and a significant decreasing trend in risk with increasing number of induced abortions. No convincing associations with other cancers were observed. Women who have induced abortions after a live birth are not at increased risk of cancer and induced abortions may reduce risk of cancer of the corpus uteri.

Performed in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Program in Epidemiology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center