White says her mother told her she took DES while pregnant. The synthetic estrogen was intended at the time to prevent birth complications and miscarriage. But a decade after White was born, researchers found the hormone broke through the uterine barrier and left many children whose mothers took the hormone at risk for reproductive complications.
Some pregnant women were given DES from the s through the s to prevent miscarriage. Women who took DES themselves have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. Women who were exposed to DES while their mothers were pregnant with them also may have slightly higher risk of breast cancer later in life.
Diethylstilbestrol is a synthetic estrogen that was used frequently in pregnant women between the s and s. The drug was used to reduce the risk of miscarriages, though later studies indicated that it most likely had no effect on miscarriage risk. In a study reported that girls born to women who had used DES DES daughters had a greatly increased risk of developing a certain type of vaginal cancer.
My mother took DES when she was pregnant with me. I'm now 69, my daughter is 41, and we've both had gynecological problems. What particular risks do we have because of our DES exposure, and what can we do about them?
DES Daughters over age 40 are nearly two times as likely as unexposed women to develop breast cancer. For DES Daughters older than age 50 the relative risk is estimated to be even higher. For most it means annual mammograms coupled with annual clinical breast exams.
PIP: It is estimated that 2 million US women used diethylstilbestrol DESa nonsteroidal estrogen, to reduce the risk of fetal loss from the late s through the early s. The results of clinical trials of the effectiveness of DES in the early s precipitated the eventual decline of DES prescription by the s. Concern about the breast cancer risk associated with the high dose of stilbestrol used led to 2 follow-up studies of these clinical trial participants, as well as 2 other retrospective cohort studies to examine the subsequent risk of breast cancer in DES-exposed women.
DES was the first synthetic estrogen and was given to pregnant women from because it was believed to prevent miscarriages and promote "healthy pregnancies. These include both female and male children, though the cancer risks have only been proven in female offspring. Women who took DES have been found to have a "moderately" increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Diethylstilbestrol DES is a synthetic form of the female hormone estrogen. It was prescribed to pregnant women between and to prevent miscarriage, premature labor, and related complications of pregnancy 1. The use of DES declined after studies in the s showed that it was not effective in preventing these problems.
Metrics details. The idea that susceptibility to breast cancer is determined not only through inherited germline mutations but also by epigenetic changes induced by alterations in hormonal environment during fetal development is gaining increasing support. Using findings obtained in human and animal studies, this review addresses the mechanisms that may explain why daughters of mothers who took synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol DES during pregnancy have two times higher breast cancer risk than women who were not exposed to it.