Women are keenly aware that breast cancer rates are rising and that the insidious disease has had a devastating impact on too many loved ones to ignore. What they may not be aware of is that our research institutes continue to overlook key evidence, leaving them ill-informed about possible risks.
One important researcher has made an effort to reverse herself, although her words seem to have been spoken in a vacuum. Dr. Louise Brinton, who was the chief organizer of the 2003 National Cancer Institute workshop, assured women at the time that “abortion is not associated with increased breast cancer risk.” That was then; this is now.
In a significant reversal, Dr. Brinton has just admitted that both abortion and oral contraceptives have an enormous impact on breast cancer rates, including the deadly form called “triple-negative” breast cancer (TNBC). In fact, she has acknowledged the credibility of an April 2009 study, which reveals that abortion can raise the risk by 40% while oral contraceptives can increase the odds by between 270-320% depending on the woman’s age. Where is the outcry?
The newest study out of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is only the most recent of many which were similarly ignored. Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, noted that “the NCI, the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and other cancer fundraising businesses have made no efforts to reduce breast cancer rates by issuing nationwide warnings to women.”
What could be the reason behind the negligence to report such critical information, and what could be the reason that women aren’t angry about it? Is it possible that everyone affected accepts the premise that oral contraceptives and abortion are non-negotiable elements of “reproductive” life? Is it possible that our culture has agreed to stage a collective end-run around the data for the sake of absolute sexual license?
One sees a similar sleight of hand with the “safe sex” campaign that stops short of suggesting that the only guaranteed way of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases is total sexual abstinence. Despite the fact that the human papilloma virus (HPV) is directly linked to cervical cancer and that HIV/Aids is gravely debilitating, information handed to adolescents leads them to experiment with potential lethal activities.
There is a wealth of talk about women’s rights and the overwhelming desire that our children succeed in life. And yet, concerning each, our actions belie our words. American tax dollars fund programs that mislead children about the dangers of sexual activities and mislead women in particular about the consequences of promiscuity. Furthermore, those who insist on focusing on the contra-indications attached to sexual experimentation and homosexual activity are labeled judgmental bigots.
Name-calling may marginalize the voices that highlight the actual data, but it won’t change the death toll—other than to raise it. Will 2010 be the year when those who are tired of being haunted by chronic illness and death say, “Enough!” Women and children cannot thrive when they are utilitarian pawns in a deadly game of “Everybody’s Doing It.”
Presently, there is more than enough proof that sexual promiscuity is grievously unhealthy. The medical community may be playing loose with the statistics, but the general public hasn’t held them accountable. Women in particular continue to pay the price in several ways—there are the cancers, there is the cycle of abandonment that intimacy without commitment brings with it, and there is the heartache of lost and confused children.
If you’re still looking for a New Year’s Resolution, perhaps spreading the word about this would be a good place to begin.