DES daughters at higher risk of cancer

WOMEN whose mothers took diethylstilboestrol (DES) in pregnancy are at increased risk of a spectrum of reproductive complications and gynaecological cancers, a large US study concludes.

The study looked at 4600 women whose mothers had taken DES to prevent pregnancy complications from the 1940s to the early 1970s and compared their health with 1900 women whose mothers had not taken the synthetic oestrogen.

The researchers found that women exposed in utero were 2.4 times as likely as unexposed women to be infertile, 4.7 times as likely to have a pre-term delivery and 2.4 times as likely to have an early menopause.

Exposed women were also 1.8 times as likely to have breast cancer, 2.3 times as likely to have CIN 2 or higher and at 40 times the risk of developing the rare vaginal cancer, clear-cell adenocarcinoma.

Australian DES campaigners say about 185,000 Australian women were exposed to the drug in utero and have called on the