MinervaBMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7028.454 (Published 17 February 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:454
Antiabortion campaigners in the United States are trying to introduce legislation requiring abortion clinics to warn women that having a pregnancy terminated increases the risk of breast cancer in later life (JAMA 1996;275:321-2). The effect, if there is one, is very small—the most recent estimate (JAMA 1996;275:283-7) puts the relative risk at 1.12—but the anxiety is that women will be alarmed by publicity being given to claims that the risk is much higher. Research is complicated by the difficulties of obtaining accurate recall of terminations and miscarriages from women with breast cancer.
Only quite recently has the myth been laid that Down's syndrome is rare in black Africans. Fewer than 25 studies have examined the frequency of the syndrome in black populations in Africa, says a review in the “Journal of Medical Genetics” (1996;33:89-92), and medical and nursing staff often still seem to be unaware of the disorder. The prevalence of Down's syndrome seems likely to be high in societies in which women commonly give birth after the age of 35, and the review concludes that the challenge is the provision of an accessible and cost effective prenatal diagnostic service.
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