The Breast Cancer Epidemic: Modeling and Forecasts Based on Abortion and Other Risk Factors

 
Epidemiologia de câncer desenvolvido por causa de aborto provocado
 
ABORTO É FATOR DE RISCO, incidencia de cancer nas mulheres – todas as idades 
 
GRAVIDEZES sao protetivas das possibilidades de desenvolver cancro. Questoes hormonais.
 
Veja os gráficos de um estudo de 1998 a 2004.
 
 
 Disponível em
 
 
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ABSTRACT
 
Using national cancer registration data for female breast câncer incidence in eight European countries—England & Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Finland, and Denmark—for which there is also comprehensive data on abortion incidence, trends are examined and future trends predicted. Seven reproductive risk factors are considered as possible explanatory variables. Induced abortion is found to be the best predictor, and fertility is also a useful predictor. Forecasts are made using a linear regression model with these explanatory variables. Previous forecasts using the same model and incidence data for years through 1997 for England &Wales are compared with numbers of cancers observed in years from 1998–2004 in an Appendix. The forecast predicted 100.5% of the cancers observed in 2003, and 97.5% of those observed in 2004.
 
The Challenge of Abortion for Epidemiologists in Female Breast Cancer Research
 
Trends
It is difficult for epidemiologists to discover women’s abortion history. In any study the numbers of women who have had abortions may be underreported.
 
National data on abortions in most countries tends to be deficient, with abortions underreported. Official abortion statistics in the United States and France are known to understate the numbers of legal induced abortions.The countries considered in this study are believed to have nearly complete official abortion counts.
 
The long lag time for the development of breast câncer magnifies the problem. The average age of diagnosis is over 60, while most abortions and live births occur at ages under 30. The modern increase in breast cancer incidence is obvious at ages over 45, and Figure 1 for England &Wales shows the increase is small below age 45.
 
Abortion did not become legal in mostWestern countries until the 1970s, and earlier abortions among older women are not recorded. Consequently, the older women, whose breast câncer incidence is known, have abortions not detectable by a longitudinal study, while the younger women, whose abortion history is known, tend to be too young to have experienced most of the modern increase in breast cancer. Where the increased risk is apparent, even under age 40 in a study free of recall bias, there is an acknowledged need to extend the study to women older than 40.
 
The long time lags, however, can be used to make long-term forecasts of cancer trends.
 
Since 1971 the overall increase has been 80%, as shown for England&Wales in Figure 1.
1
2 3
4
1,5,6
1,5,7-11
12
4
 
In contrast to other cancers, breast cancer is more common in upper-class women. This reverse gradient is becoming steeper: see Figure 2. The reported standardized mortality ratio (SMR) in England for the highest social class I increased to 174 for the years 1997–2000, compared to an SMR of 169 for the years 1993–1996.
 
As upper-class women have higher survival rates, the incidence gradient is steeper than the mortality gradient. Fertility differences do little to explain this gradient. However, the age at first birth among women who have children does provide a two-fold partial explanation. The least deprived women studied in a British survey were found to have a greater preference for abortion when pregnant. Higher-class women have a later age at first birth and consequently higher-class women have nulliparous abortions, which are more carcinogenic.
 
Local variation within countries can be examined in addition to international comparisons. The South East of England has more breast cancer than other parts of the British Isles. It also has the highest abortion rate. Ireland has the lowest rate of breast cáncer
 
13
14
15
16
17
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
Year
Rate per 100,000 women
40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
I II IIIN IIIM IV V
 
 
Social Class
 
Social Class I is the highest profesional. Social Class IIIN is Skilled on-Manual and IIIMis Skilled Manual.
 
Proprotional Mortality Ratio
2001-2004 Forecast
1997-2000
1993-1996
Patrick S. Carroll, M.A.
 
The Breast Cancer Epidemic:
 
Modeling and Forecasts Based on Abortion
and Other Risk Factors
 
Figure 1. Average Yearly Rate of Incidence of Female Breast Cancer in England &Wales within Age Groups 40-44, 45-49, 50-54 and 55-59 from 1971-2004
 
Figure 2. Female Breast Cancer Mortality by Social Class: Proportional mortality ratios show increased reverse gradient across social class of womenin England&Wales.
 
72 Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 12 Number 3 Fall 2007
0.00
0.05
0.10
0.15
0.20
0.25
0.30
1923 1928 1933 1938 1943 1948 1953 1958 1963 1968
 
Year of Birth
Cumulated Cohort AbortionRate
0.000
0.002
0.004
0.006
0.008
0.010
0.012
0.014
0.016
 
CumulatedCohort BreastCancer Rate
Nulliparous Abortion Rate
Parous Abortion Rate
Breast Cancer Rate
0.00
0.05
0.10
0.15
0.20
0.25
0.30
1926
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
 
Year of Birth
Cohort Abortion
0.000
0.002
0.004
0.006
0.008
0.010
0.012
0.014
0.016
 
Cohort Breast Cancer
Abortion Rate per w oman
Breast Cancer Rate per w oman
 
Correlation Coefficient: 0.98 and the lowest abortion rate. Fertility, higher in Ireland than in England, is also a factor. But in the South East of England fertility is not lower than the English average and does not explain the aboveaverage breast cancer rate.
 
Seven known risk factors were examined as an explanation for
these trends:
 
When a woman is nulliparous, an induced abortion has a greater carcinogenic effect because it leaves breast cells in a state of interrupted hormonal development in which they are more susceptible.
 
Alow age at first birth is protective.
Childlessness increases the risk.
A larger number of children (higher fertility) increases protection.
 
Breastfeeding gives additional protection.
 
Hormonal contraceptives are conducive to breast cancer.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is also conducive to breast cancer.
 
For four of these risk factors we are fortunate to have useful English national data. The total fertility rates (TFRs) and completed cohort fertility rates are as published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and the total abortion rates (TARs) and cohort abortion rates are derived by the author from official data.
 
Figure 3 shows cumulated cohort abortion rates for successive birth cohorts of women born since 1926 in England & Wales, together with cumulated cohort breast cancer rates for women aged 50–54. The correlation coefficient is high (>0.9), and it is useful to include this variable as an explanatory variable in modeling.
 
Figure 4 shows the rates decomposed into parous and nulliparous cohort rates. The increasing proportion of nulliparous  abortions affecting the women now entering age groups where they are likely to have breast cancer is apparent. This trend is a driver of the further increases in breast cancer incidence now observed.
 
Figure 5 shows average number of children, representing the cumulated cohort fertility rate for successive birth cohorts of English women compared with their breast cancer rate for cancer in women aged 50–54. The correlation coefficient is -0.57, so this variable is also useful to include in modeling.
 
Figure 6 shows mean age at first birth in England &Wales for successive birth cohorts. If the correlation were positive it could help to explain the trend, but it is negative.
 
Figure 7 shows cohort childlessness. The correlation in the graph is negative, and this variable is not used in the model to explain the British trend.
 
Two explanatory variables are selected for modeling:
(abortion) and (fertility). The trends for abortion and fertility are shown in Figures 8 and 9 for countries considered.
The Mathematical Model is then:
where represents cumulated cohort incidence of breast cáncer within a particular age group; is intercept, and are coefficients, and is random error.
 
 
Risk Factors
Modeling for England&Wales
18
19
20
15
17
x
x
Y
a b b
e
1
2
1 2
Yi = a + b1x1i + b2x2i + ei
1.80
1.90
2.00
2.10
2.20
2.30
2.40
2.50
1926
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
Year of Birth
Cohort Fertility
0.000
0.002
0.004
0.006
0.008
0.010
0.012
0.014
0.016
Cohort Brest Cancer
Fertility Rate per woman
Breast Cancer Rate per woman
Correlation Coefficient: -0.57
 
 
Figure 3. Cohort Breast Cancer Incidence within Ages 50-54 vs. Cumulated Cohort Abortion Rate for Women in England & Wales: Cohorts are defined by year of birth.
 
Figure 4. Cumulated Cohort Rates of Abortion (Parous and Nulliparous) and Cumulated Cohort Rate of Breast Cancer within Ages 50-54 forWomen in England&Wales’
 
Figure 5. Cohort Breast Cancer Incidence within Ages 50-54 vs. Cumulated Cohort Fertility for Women in England & Wales: Cohorts are defined by year of birth.
22.5
23.0
23.5
24.0
24.5
25.0
1926 1928 1930 1932 1934 1936 1938 1940 1942 1944 1946 1948 1950 1952 1954
Year of Birth
Mean Age at First Birth
0.000
0.001
0.002
0.003
0.004
0.005
0.006
0.007
0.008
0.009
0.010
Cohort Breast Cancer Rate
Mean Age at First Birth
Breast Cancer Cohort
Correlation Coefficient: -0.56
 
Figure 6. Cohort Mean Age at First Birth vs Cumulated Breast Cancer within Age Group 45-49 for Cohort Women in England&Wales
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 12 Number 3 Fall 2007 73
 
This model has desirable mathematical properties such as dimensional homogeneity, linearity, additivity, and parsimonious parameterization.
 
The model makes sense in terms of the factors not explicitly included. Higher fertility is associated with a lower age at first birth and less childlessness. Breastfeeding is strongly linked to fertility.
 
Likewise lower fertility is associated with more use of hormonal contraceptives. Abortion can lead to prescription of hormonal contraceptives, and the mental health sequelae of abortion may lead to use of hormone replacement therapy.
 
Themodelwas fitted to English female cohorts born in the years up to 1950 for cancer in women aged 50–54. The multiple was 0.951. The estimated coefficient of abortion ( ) is 0.0166 (95% CI, .0065-.0396), and the coefficient of fertility ( ) is −0.0047 (95% CI, −.0135-.0041). The coefficient of fertility is rather small, with the 95% confidence interval straddling zero. Some improvement in breastfeeding may be offsetting fertility decline. These results are summarized in Table 1.
 
Forecasts are made using the model with the latest TFRs and TARs to estimate cumulated cohort rates of fertility and abortion for 25 years in the future. Here the recent rates for England&Wales in 2006 of TFR1.86 and TAR0.55 are used. Fitting this model gives an overall increase in the rate of cancer of 50.9%, which corresponds to a yearly compound increase of 1.7%.
 
Assuming the breast cancer incidence rates for ages below 45 are constant, for ages 45–49 follow the trend as modeled for this age group, and for ages over 50 follow the trend as modeled for ages 50–54, we can estimate future breast cancer incidence rates for 25 future years with 2004 as base year for prediction. The numbers of new cancers to be expected in these years is then estimated using the Government Actuary’s population projections by applying the forecast incidence rates to the expected numbers of women in the relevant age groups in each year.
 
The numbers of newly diagnosed cancers forecast by this model are expected to increase to 65,252 in 2025, compared to the reported number 39,229 in 2004 (a 66.3% increase). These are shown with forecasts for intermediate years in Table 2.
 
The 1997-based forecasts using this model published in 2002 have anticipated quite well the reported increases in female breast cancer in England&Wales in 1998 to 2004 [Appendix A].
 
Cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which also requires treatment, are registered separately and are also forecast. DCIS is shown on mammography, and the number of cases has increased in the age groups targeted by screening. In 2004 there were 39,229 breast cancers and 3,827 cases of DCIS registered in England & Wales. The number of future cases is forecast by assuming that the ratio of cancers to DCIS stays constant in the main age groups affected. The increased numbers forecast are shown in Table 2.
 
These forecast numbers can be used to plan treatment facilities for women diagnosed with cancer. In Scotland the incidence gradient (Figure 10) is less than the gradient in England (Figure 2), and the mortality gradient is almost  R
b
b
1
2
Forecasting for England&Wales
ModelingApplied to the Social Gradient
21
4
0.00
0.20
0.40
0.60
0.80
1.00
1.20
1.40
1.60
1.80
1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006
Year
TotalAbortion Rate
England & Wales Scotland Northern Ireland Republic of Ireland Sw eden Czech Republic Finland Denmark 0.5 Level 0.25 Level
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
1926 1928 1930 1932 1934 1936 1938 1940 1942 1944 1946 1948 1950 1952 1954
Year of Birth
Cohort Childlessness %
0.000
0.001
0.002
0.003
0.004
0.005
0.006
0.007
0.008
0.009
0.010
Cohort Breast Cancer Rate
Cohort Childlessness
Cohort Breast Cancer Rate
Correlation Coefficient: -0.01
Country
No of
Years
Used
Goodness of Fit
Multiple R
Intercept (a)
Coefficient of
Abortion (b1)
(95% CI)
Coefficient of
Fertility (b2)
(95% CI)
Increase
Forecast
England &Wales 15 0.951 .0202
.0166
(.0065, .0396)
–.0047
(–.0135, .0041)
50.9%
Scotland * 28 0.603 .0093
.0040
(–.0047, .0127)
–.00053
(–.0029, .0018)
17.2%
Northern Ireland * 8 0.998 .0082
.0107
(.0074, .0140)
–.00020
(–.0006, .0002)
9.3%
Irish Republic * 8 0.997 .0083
.0099
(.0018, .0182)
–.00029
(–.0013, –0007)
8.3%
Sweden 6 0.998 .0097
.0128
(.0059, .0197)
–.00023
(–.0027, .0022)
31.3%
Czech Republic 9 0.859 .021
.0083
(.0014, .0151)
–.0094
(–.0423, .0236)
53%
Finland 16 0.630 .0058
.0298
(–.0092, .0687)
–.0014
(–.0101, .0072)
–6.8%
Denmark 8 0.991 .0065
.0155
(.00046, 0.0305)
–.00024
(–.003, 0.0026)
–4.1%
 
Table 1. Model Fitting by Country: Regression Intercept and Coefficients, and Increase in Breast Cancer Incidence Forecast to Occur in 25Years†
 
Table 2. Summary: Forecast Cases of Breast Cancer and DCIS
England &Wales
Scotland
Northern Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Sweden
Czech Republic
Finland
Denmark
39229
3917
1117
2336
7293
5449
3794
3952
40018
3963
1137
2336
7777
5596
3824
4043
45529
4482
1256
2560
8519
6200
3931
4175
51849
5058
1382
2883
9288
6804
4005
4325
58567
5639
1508
3222
10096
7561
4024
4452
65252
6177
1626
3601
10895
8412
4045
4533
3827
333
87
163
950
248
3848
345
87
163
981
258
4373
392
99
178
1077
278
5074
450
111
200
1177
300
5765
502
119
223
1281
334
6319
537
122
248
1384
372
Base Year 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 Base Year 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025
Cancers In Situ Cancers
* 45-49 modeling used
 
25 years after latest year for which breast cancer incidence is available (2005 for Republic of Ireland; 2004 for England & Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Sweden; 2003 for Czech Republic and Finland; 2001 for Denmark).
 
Linear Regression. Response variable: cumulated cohort breast cancer incidence for women aged 50–54 or 45–49. Explanatory variables: cumulated cohort abortion rates and cumulated cohort fertility rates.
 
Figure 7. Cumulated Cohort Breast Cancer Rates within Ages 45-49 vs.
Cohort Childlessness Percentage for England&Wales
 
Figure 8. Total Abortion Rates: TARs in England & Wales, Scotland,
Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, and Denmark; 1968-2006
74 Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 12 Number 3 Fall 2007 flat. These differences could result in part from the fact that the abortion rate has been lower in Scotland than in England since 1968
 
(Figure 8). Currently, the abortion rate is about 50% higher in England than in Scotland. However, over the same period, there has been a greater decline in fertility in Scotland (Figure 9).
 
Five social classes for Scotland are distinguished according to deprivation, whereas in England there are six social classes distinguished by occupation. The Scottish ratios of mortality to incidence for the social classes were used to derive an approximate gradient of incidence for England. The modeling for England for the age groups 45–49 and 50–54 described in the last section was used to estimate a further increase in incidence of breast cancer in England of 14.4% in the period 2001–2004, compared to 1997–2000. This was spread across the six social classes in England in proportion to the existing gradient, and an increased gradient of incidence across social class for England for the years 2001–2004 was determined. Using the Scottish ratios, this was then converted into the increased breast cancer mortality gradient for England&Wales shown in Figure 2.
 
Cancer registrations in Scotland started in 1960. Rates have been higher than in England, but recently the increase over all ages in Scottish breast cancer rates has been less than in England (Figures 11 and 12). Figure 8 shows the lower Scottish abortion rates. Figure 9 shows the greater decline in Scottish birth rates. The trend in cohort breast cancer in ages 50–54 up to 2004 proved nonlinear and difficult to fit the model. The model was fitted for Scotland for ages 45–49 with results shown in Table 1.
 
Forecasts were made using the latest 2006 TAR for Scotland, 0.376, and the latest TFR, 1.67, giving an overall increase in the rate of cancer of 17.2%, or a yearly increase of 0.64%. Numbers of new cancers expected in Scotland are 6,177 in 2025 compared to the 3,917 reported for 2004, which is a 57.7% increase, in line with the aging of the population.
 
The lower abortion rates in Scotland lead to a forecast of a lesser further increase in incidence of breast cancer in Scotland compared to England, partly offset by lower fertility now in Scotland. Breastfeeding rates have been very low in Scotland, and this has reduced the protective effects of higher Scottish fertility in the past. With encouragement in recent years, the increase in breastfeeding has apparently offset the effects of the decline in the Scottish birth rate.
 
Data is limited, as cancer registration started in 1993. The incidence trends for the age groups 45–49 and 50–54 are shown in Figures 11 and 12. Abortions in England on women resident in Northern Ireland as reported in English abortion statistics are used to derive abortion rates for Northern Ireland. The trends in abortion and fertility in Northern Ireland are shown in Figures 8 and 9.
 
Abortion rates in Ireland, where abortion is illegal, are much lower= than in Great Britain. By smoothing the graph of cohort cáncer incidence for Northern Ireland it was possible to fit the model and make estimates.
 
With this model fitted on the available years of data to 2004 for the age range 45–49, and the latest abortion and fertility rates
22
22
23
Modeling and Forecasting for Scotland
Northern Ireland
0.00
0.50
1.00
1.50
2.00
2.50
3.00
3.50
4.00
4.50
1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006
Year
Total Fertility Rate
England & Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
Republic of Ireland Sw eden Czech Republic
Denmark Replacement Level 2.07 Finland
0
20
40
60
80
100
1 2 3 4 5
%survival
0
25
50
75
100
125
Least
deprived
Most
deprived
Deprivation quintile
Incidence
Survival
Mortality
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
1943 1948 1953 1958 1963 1968 1973 1978 1983 1988 1993 1998 2003
Year
Rate per 100,000 women
England and Wales Scotland Northern Ireland Republic of Ireland
Sw eden Czech Republic Finland Denmark
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
1943 1948 1953 1958 1963 1968 1973 1978 1983 1988 1993 1998 2003
Year
Rate per 100,000 women
England and Wales Scotland Northern Ireland Republic of Ireland
Sweden Czech Republic Finland Denmark
 
Figure 9. Total Fertility Rates: TFR in England & Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Sweden, , Finland, and Denmark; 1968-2006 Czech Republic
 
Figure 10. Cancer of the Female Breast, Scotland: Incidence, mortality and cause-specific survival at 5 years by deprivation quintile, for patients diagnosed 1991-95. Source: ISD publication Trends in Cancer Survival in Scotland 1971-1995
 
Figure 11. Breast Cancer in Women within Ages 45-49 in England &Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, and Denmark; 1943-2005
 
Figure 12. Breast Cancer in Women within Ages 50-54 in England &Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, and Denmark; 1943-2005 Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 12 Number 3 Fall 2007 75 entered, the 2006 TAR for Northern Ireland is 0.16, the latest TFR is 1.87, and the forecast increase in the rate of cancer is 9.3% (yearly increase 0.36%).
 
This forecasts an increase in new cancers in Northern Ireland to 1,626 in 2025 compared to the 1,117 reported for 2004, which is a 46% increase, largely due to aging of the population. This small increase follows from the very low abortion rate and comparatively high fertility in Northern Ireland.
 
Data is limited, as cancer registration started in 1994. The incidence trends for the age groups 45–49 and 50–54 are shown in Figures 11 and 12. Data on women resident in the Republic in English abortion statistics are used to derive Irish abortion rates.
 
The trends in abortion and fertility in the Republic of Ireland are shown in Figures 8 and 9. Abortion rates in the Republic are low, and Irish fertility rates are high compared with England.
 
Modeling used the latest available cancer data up to 2005 fitted for cohort incidence within ages 45–49. Forecasting used the TAR of 0.18 for 2006 and TFR of 1.86, giving a forecast increase in the rate of cancer of 8.3%, which corresponds to a yearly compound increase of 0.32%. This predicts an increase in numbers of new cancers in the Republic of Ireland to around 3,601 in 2025, compared to the 2,336 reported for 2005. The 54% increase is largely a consequence of the expected growth and aging of the Irish population.
 
In Sweden cancer registration started in 1958. The incidence trends for the age groups 45–49 and 50–54 are shown in Figures 11and 12. The trends in abortion and fertility in Sweden are shown in Figures 8 and 9. The nonlinear trend in fertility makes modeling difficult. The abortion rates in Sweden are higher than in England at the adult ages, but in Sweden most abortions are parous. Breastfeeding is also successfully promoted in Sweden, offsetting the carcinogenic effect of a high abortion rate.
 
Modeling is possible using recent years data. Forecasting with the latest TAR for Sweden of 0.65 and the latest TFR of 1.75 produces an overall increase in the rate of cancer of 31.3%, which corresponds to a yearly compound increase of 1.12%. From this model, new cancers in Sweden are expected to be 10,895 in 2025, compared to the 7,293 reported for 2005, a 49% increase.
 
In the Czech Republic cancer registration started in 1977. The incidence trends are shown in Figures 11 and 12. Czech rates o breast cancer are low by comparison with other countries considered. Perhaps there is less genetic susceptibility.The trends in abortion and fertility in the Czech Republic are shown in Figures 8 and 9. Abortion rates in the Czech Republic were high, and most abortions are parous. Data for recent yearswas used to fit the model.
 
Forecasts using the latest TAR for the Czech Republic of 0.35 and the latest TFR of 1.23 gave an overall increase in the rate of cancer of 39.2%, or a yearly increase of 1.33%. The Czech abortion rate has declined markedly, but the Czech birth rate has declined even more remarkably in recent years. These are offsetting factors Republic of
Ireland
Sweden
Czech Republic
24
for breast cancer. The model predicts 8,412 new malignancies in the
Czech Republic in 2025 compared to the 5,449 reported for 2003, a
54% increase.
 
In Finland cancer registration started in 1953 and data is available for years since 1977. The incidence trends are shown in Figures 11 and 12. The trends in abortion and fertility in Finland are shown in Figures 8 and 9. By using data for recent years it was possible to fit the model.
 
The latest available TAR for Finland is 0.34 and the latest TFR is 1.7. In the modeling these gave an expected decrease in the rate of cancer of 6.8%, i.e. a yearly compound decrease of 0.28%,
reflecting the decline in the Finnish abortion rate and some
recovery in the birth rate in Finland. The forecast increase to 4,045
breast cancers in 2025, compared to the 3,794 reported for 2003,
results from the aging of the population.
 
Anegative social gradient in Finland is reported in a large study.
“Cancers of the breast were most common in high social classes
throughout the whole observation period 1971–1995. The relative
difference between the SIRs (Standardised Incidence Ratios) of
social classes I and IV diminished from 2-fold in the period
1971–1975 to 1.5-fold in 1991–1995. SIRs were 1.67 in social class
I and 0.81 in social class IV in 1971–1975 and 1.4 and 0.81
respectively in 1991–1995.”
 
The social gradient was not explicable in terms of fertility. “In
Finland there is relatively little difference between social classes in
the age at first birth and average number of children.” Abortion
was not considered as an explanatory variable in this study. If it had
been considered, the gradient might have been better understood.
The lessening of the social gradient may be linked to a decline in the
Finnish abortion rate.
 
In Denmark cancer registration goes back to the 1940s but data
after 2001 is not available. The trend is similar to other countries
discussed above (Figures 11 and 12). Abortion rates declined after
1989 (Figure 8) and are less than in Sweden and England. Fertility
shows a decline similar to that in Sweden (Figure 9).
 
Cohort fertility for years of birth before 1945 and abortion rates
before 1973 were estimated. Age-specific fertility rates were not
available for earlier years, and approximate estimates were made.
Trend lines proved nonlinear, and model fitting was difficult.
 
Modeling used a fixed intercept and recent data with results
summarized in Table 1. The latest TAR (0.45) and TFR (1.8) gave
an expected decrease in the rate of cancer of 4.1%, i.e. a yearly
compound decrease of 0.16%. This decline reflects the decline in
the Danish abortion rate.
 
A social gradient has also been found in Denmark. A large
Danish national study found a higher incidence of breast cancer in
the higher social classes. Academics (persons with higher
education) had the highest risk of breast cancer, which was 74%
above that of women in agriculture, who had the lowest risk. The
records were adequate to control for various risk factors, and the
study concluded that “the large social differences in fertility history
among Danish women could not explain the social differences in
breast cancer risk.” In particular, “[a]ge at first birth and parity
Finland
Denmark
25
25
26,27
27
26
76
 
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 12 Number 3 Fall 2007 could not explain the “effect of socioeconomic group on breast cancer incidence and mortality.” Abortion was not considered as a relevant factor. If it had been considered the gradient might have been explained.
 
In most countries considered, women now over age 45 have had more abortions and fewer children than previous generations of women, and a further increase in breast cancer incidence is to be expected. Variations in breast cancer incidence across social class and across geographic regions can also be expected to increase.
 
In England, a high rate of abortion leads to the large forecast increase. In Scotland, the lower abortion rate, offset by lower fertility than in England, leads to a slightly lower rate of increase expected. In both Irish jurisdictions, a continuation of low abortion rates and comparatively high fertility rates lead to low forecast increases in incidence of breast cancer. In Sweden a high abortion rate is offset partly by fewer nulliparous abortions and a high level of fertility and breastfeeding.
 
In the Czech Republic, the forecast of an increase in breast cancer incidence is largely the result of the fallen birth rate. In Finland and Denmark, lower abortion rates imply less breast cáncer in the future.
 
The negative or reverse social gradient whereby upper class women have more breast cancer is apparent in four countries where it is measured: England&Wales, Scotland, , and Denmark.
 
In all of these countries the known reproductive factors other than
abortion fail to explain the gradient. But the known likelihood for
upper class and upwardly mobile women to prefer abortions when
pregnant could provide some explanation of this gradient. If
abortions had been examined in the studies of this social gradient,
the role of this factor could have been made clear.
 
The increase in breast cancer incidence appears to be best
explained by an increase in abortion rates, especially nulliparous
abortions, and lower fertility. And the social gradient, which is not
explained by fertility, seems also attributable circumstantially to
abortion. A linear regression model of successive birth cohorts of
women with abortion and fertility as explanatory variables fitted to the cancer incidence up to 1977 has produced forecasts that have performed well in the years 1998–2004 in Great Britain (AppendixA).
 
The new forecasts for eight countries can be tested in the coming years.
27
Summary
Conclusion
Finland
Patrick S. Carroll, M.A.,
Acknowledgements:
Potential conflicts of interest:
is Director of Research, Pension and Population  Research Institute (PAPRI), 35 Canonbury Road, London N1 2DG, UK.  Contact: papriresearch@btconnect.com.
 
Particular thanks are due to the charities LIFE and The Medical Education Trust, which funded the research, to the national statistical  offices and cancer registries, which provided the data, and to the statisticians who kindly gave advice. Figure 10 is reproduced from the publication with permission of the Cancer Surveillance Team, Information Services Division (ISD), NHS National Services, Scotland. Computing was done by Andrew Chan and Lee Young.
 
none disclosed.
Trends
in Cancer Survival in Scotland 1971-1995
 
 
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Statistical Bulletin;
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 12 Number 3 Fall 2007 77
AppendixA. Female BreastCancers and Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) in
England&Wales: Comparison of ForecastNumbers Published in 2002 with
Reported Incidence in theYears 1998– 2004
Modelling based on breast cancer incidence data up to 1997 was used
to forecast incidence over future years through 2027. Forecast rates were
applied to the projected female population in the 1998-based forecast made
by theUKGovernmentActuary to calculate forecast numbers of cancers.
In these 1997-based forecasts, the same rate of increase in incidence
was assumed to apply to all age groups.
Two forecasts were made: (1) Using model fitting without weighting to
allow for additionally carcinogenic effect of nulliparous abortions gave a
lower increase in rates of 44.4% over 30 years, or 1.25% per annum. (2)
With weighting to allow for the additionally carcinogenic effects of
nulliparous abortions, the model gave a higher increase of 2.2% per annum or 92%over 30 years.
 
21 Tables 1A-3A show the observed cases from official counts of new  cases and the expected numbers calculated with the unweighted model, for cancers, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), and cancers combined with DCIS, respectively. The forecast tended to underestimate slightly the number of cancers; the ratio of observed to expected was 1.013 (101.3%) in 2004. For DCIS, the underestimate, O/E = 1.54 (154.3%) for 2004, was much more notable, probably owing to extension of screening programs.
 
The combined rate of cancers and DCIS was somewhat underestimated, O/E = 1.04 (104.4%) in 2004.
 
Weighting for the increased carcinogenicity of nulliparous abortionsgave the results shown in Tables 4A-6A for cancers, DCIS, and cancers combined with DCIS, respectively. Cancers were slightly overestimated, O/E = 0.946 (94.6%) for 2004. DCIS was underestimated, but less so than with the first model: O/E = 1.44 (144%) in 2004. The combined forecast proved quite good, with 100.5% of the total new malignancies anticipated [in 2003, and 97.5% in 2004.
 
Year 15-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60+ All ages
%Observed/
Expected
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Age Groups
3880
4005
4022
4153
4183
4151
4375
4161
4527
4101
4666
4214
4802
4312
3220
3099
3241
3088
3275
3042
3365
2950
3487
2993
3619
3066
3771
3268
4725
4633
4909
5031
5051
4951
5172
4957
5039
4514
5021
4554
5081
4439
3621
3880
3805
4198
4005
4138
4284
4477
4761
4819
5079
5396
5292
5136
19042
19029
19450
19791
19872
19544
20374
19846
20836
20293
21402
21575
21981
21557
34488
34646
35427
36261
36386
35826
37570
36391
38650
36720
39787
38805
40927
38712
100.5
102.4
98.5
96.9
95.0
97.5
94.6
Year 15-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60+ All ages
%Observed/
Expected
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Age Groups
193
136
200
255
208
279
218
264
225
290
232
278
239
315
321
231
323
272
327
243
336
272
348
261
361
249
376
275
471
674
490
765
504
804
516
832
503
813
501
817
507
827
375
454
394
488
414
544
443
622
493
675
526
789
547
612
746
917
765
1006
784
1163
800
1163
819
1230
847
1530
881
1644
2106
2412
2172
2786
2237
3033
2313
3153
2388
3269
2467
3663
2550
3673
114.5
128.3
135.6
136.3
136.9
148.5
144.0
Year 15-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60+ All ages
%Observed/
Expected
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Age Groups
4073
4141
4222
4408
4391
4430
4593
4425
4752
4391
4898
4492
5041
4627
3541
3330
3564
3360
3602
3285
3701
3222
3835
3254
3980
3315
4147
3543
5196
5307
5399
5796
5555
5755
5688
5789
5542
5327
5522
5371
5588
5266
3996
4334
4199
4686
4419
4682
4727
5099
5254
5494
5605
6185
5839
5748
19788
19946
20215
20797
20656
20707
21174
21009
21655
21523
22249
23105
22862
23201
36594
37058
37599
39047
38623
38859
39883
39544
41038
39989
42254
42468
43477
42385
101.3
103.9
100.6
99.2
97.4
100.5
97.5
Year 15-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60+ All ages
%Observed/
Expected
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Age Groups
4033
4141
4140
4408
4264
4430
4415
4425
4524
4391
4558
4492
4705
4627
3507
3330
3494
3360
3497
3285
3559
3222
3650
3254
3752
3315
3871
3543
5145
5307
5294
5796
5393
5755
5468
5789
5275
5327
5205
5371
5216
5266
3956
4334
4117
4686
4290
4682
4545
5099
5002
5494
5284
6185
5451
5748
19595
19946
20453
20797
20055
20707
20357
21009
20616
21523
20975
23105
21365
23201
36236
37058
37498
39047
37499
38859
38344
39544
39067
39989
39774
42468
40608
42385
102.3
104.1
103.6
103.1
102.4
106.8
104.4
Year 15-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60+ All ages
%Observed/
Expected
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Age Groups
191
136
196
255
202
279
209
264
214
290
219
278
223
315
318
231
317
272
317
243
323
272
331
261
340
249
351
275
467
674
480
765
489
804
496
832
478
813
472
817
473
827
371
454
386
488
402
544
426
622
469
675
496
789
511
612
739
917
751
1006
761
1163
769
1163
780
1230
799
1530
822
1644
2086
2412
2130
2786
2171
3033
2223
3153
2272
3269
2326
3663
2380
3673
115.6
130.8
139.7
141.8
143.9
157.5
154.3
Year 15-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60+ All ages
% Observed/
Expected
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
Expected
Observed
3842
4005
3944
4153
4062
4151
4206
4161
4310
4101
4339
4214
4482
4312
3189
3099
3177
3088
3180
3042
3236
2950
3319
2993
3412
3066
3520
3268
4678
4633
4814
5031
4904
4951
4972
4957
4797
4514
4733
4554
4743
4439
3585
3880
3731
4198
3888
4138
4119
4477
4533
4819
4788
5396
4940
5136
18856
19029
19702
19791
19294
19544
19588
19846
19836
20293
20176
21575
20543
21557
34150
34646
35368
36261
35328
35826
36121
36391
36795
36720
37448
38805
38228
38712
101.5
102.5
101.4
100.7
99.8
103.6
101.3
Age Groups
Table 6A. Combined Cases of Female Breast Cancer and DCIS in England &
Wales,Observed v. Predicted fromModelWeighted for NulliparousAbortion
Table 5A. Number of Cases of Female DCIS in England &Wales, Observed
v. Predicted from ModelWeighted for NulliparousAbortion
Table 4A. Number of Female Breast Cancers in England &Wales, Observed
v. Predicted from ModelWeighted for NulliparousAbortions
Table 3A. Combined Cases of Female Breast Cancer and DCIS in England
&Wales, Observed v. Predicted from Unweighted Model
Table 2A. Number of Cases of Female DCIS in England &Wales, Observed
v. Predicted from Unweighted Model
Table 1A. Number of Female Breast Cancers in England &Wales, Observed
v. Predicted from Unweighted Model
Forecast based on incidence of breast cancer up to 1997
78 Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 12 Number 3 Fall 2007
 

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