Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To assess the risk of breast cancer in patients with a previous history of miscarriage or induced abortion. DESIGN: Case-control study relating "exposure" to outcome by linkage of national hospital discharge and maternity records, the national cancer registry, and death records. SETTING: Scotland. PARTICIPANTS: Miscarriage analysis-2828 women with breast cancer and 9781 matched controls; induced abortion analysis-2833 women with breast cancer and 9888 matched controls. MAIN RESULTS: After stratification for age at diagnosis, parity, and age at first birth, the odds ratio (95% confidence intervals) of breast cancer was 1.02 (0.88 to 1.18) in women with a previous miscarriage, and 0.80 (0.72 to 0.89) in women with a previous induced abortion. Further adjustments for age at bilateral oophorectomy, socioeconomic status (based on small area of residence), and health board area of residence had only minor effects on these odds ratios. CONCLUSION: These data do not support the hypothesis that miscarriage or induced abortion represent substantive risk factors for the future development of breast cancer.

Original publication




Journal article


J Epidemiol Community Health

Publication Date





283 - 287


Abortion, Induced, Abortion, Spontaneous, Adolescent, Adult, Age Factors, Breast Neoplasms, Case-Control Studies, Child, Female, Humans, Medical Record Linkage, Odds Ratio, Ovariectomy, Parity, Pregnancy, Risk Factors, Scotland