DES daughters at higher risk of cancers, infertility

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

The study looked at 4600 women whose mothers had taken DES 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 preterm delivery and 2.4 times as likely to have 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 had 40 times the risk of developing rare clear-cell adenocarcinoma.

Carol Devine, a spokesperson for the patient advocacy group DES Action Australia, said the study should be a “wake-up call” to the federal government to better educate the estimated