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In recognition of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) would like every young woman to be aware of how the reproductive choices she makes may affect her future risk of developing breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the United States. Fortunately, there are risk factors for breast cancer that are modifiable – that is, they depend upon lifestyle choices made by young women. A diet low in fat, high in omega-3 fatty acids, maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and avoiding alcohol and smoking will decrease a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

Induced abortion prior to 32 weeks gestation may also increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer, especially if she has a positive family history of breast cancer or has an induced abortion during her adolescent years. This is because induced abortion interrupts the normal development and maturation of the breast cells that occurs during pregnancy, leaving the cells at much higher risk for malignant changes.

“It is important for young women to understand all the risks associated with reproductive health choices, so their decisions are truly informed,” states Dr. Jane Anderson, co-author of the ACPeds statement, Reproductive Choices of Young Women Affecting Future Breast Cancer Risk.

The statement discusses research that has linked the rise in breast cancer cases to increased rates of induced abortions in many nations.

Dr. Jane Anderson continues, “These reproductive choices are modifiable risk factors for the development of breast cancer. Women have the right to know accurate risk information to shape their reproductive health decisions.”

For more information on the link between breast cancer and induced abortion, please view the position statement: Reproductive Choices of Young Women Affecting Future Breast Cancer Risk.

Author: Press Release