Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Papers Research pointers

Taking folate in pregnancy and risk of maternal breast cancer

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 09 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1375

Rapid Response:

Folate and Breast Cancer Risk

Dear Sir

The paper by Charles et al (10 December 2004) is wrong to single out for attention a marginal effect when it reports that 31 women died of breast cancer, after taking a supplement of the vitamin folic acid for a few months 38 years ago. From this study of 3,000 women, even to suggest that there is causal relationship (though they then seem to withdraw the suggestion) is a disservice to women. They are forging a tendentious connection with a genuine public health issue, whilst they must be aware that the understandable fears of women, and the guaranteed media interest, place more babies at risk of severe disability. The thirst of researchers and journals for publicity at any price should be discouraged.

Yours faithfully

Andrew Russell
Chief Executive
Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus ASBAH House, 42,Park Road, Peterborough, PE1 2UQ, UK

Competing interests: None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

15 December 2004
Andrew V Russell
Chief Executive
Peterborough PE1 2UQ