Journal of Epidemiology
Online ISSN : 1349-9092
Print ISSN : 0917-5040
ISSN-L : 0917-5040
Original Article
Induced Abortion, Birth Control Methods, and Breast Cancer Risk: A Case-Control Study in China
Xuelian YuanFang YiCan HouHui LeeXiaorong ZhongPing TaoHui LiZhuping XuJiayuan Li
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2019 Volume 29 Issue 5 Pages 173-179


Background: The association between induced abortion and birth control methods (including oral contraceptives and intrauterine devices) and breast cancer may vary among countries, due to the different usage and frequency of birth control methods and induced abortion among countries. A better understanding of this association may help in determining safer birth control methods for Chinese women.

Methods: A case-control study was conducted with a total of 794 cases and 805 controls. Standardized questionnaires were used to collect information on demographic characteristics, exposure to induced abortion, birth control methods, and other risk factors for breast cancer. Multivariate logistic regression was conducted to explore the association between birth control methods and breast cancer.

Results: Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that having a history of medical abortions, ≥3 surgical abortions, or both medical and surgical abortions was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women (odds ratio [OR] 2.48; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14–5.40). Pre-menopausal women who had used intra-uterine devices (IUDs) for more than 20 years tended to have a lower breast cancer risk than other age-matched pre-menopausal women (OR 0.41; 95% CI, 0.25–0.68). Both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women who had <20 years exposure to IUDs and those who had used two or more birth control methods (with the exception of women who used IUDs for more than 20 years) tended to have much higher breast cancer risk.

Conclusion: The relationship between induced abortion and birth control methods and breast cancer was complex, though being exposed to induced abortion and two or more birth control methods in one’s lifetime appeared to be risk factors for breast cancer in Chinese women.

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© 2018 Xuelian Yuan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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