Breast Cancer Advice. Keep up to date with the latest information and treatment of breast cancer.
A Member of the Healthscout Network
 Printer Friendly  Send to a Friend

Pregnancy Drug Linked to Breast Cancer

Ivanhoe Newswire

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Did your mother take a drug to avoid a miscarriage while she was pregnant with you?

That's something women should know, because new research suggests women born to mothers who took the synthetic estrogen known as diethylstilbestrol (DES) while they were pregnant are significantly more likely to develop breast cancer as they get older.

Related Stories
Black Women's Genes May Spur Deadlier Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Drugs Not One-Size-Fits-All
Digital Mammography Boosts Chances of Spotting Malignancies
Related Videos
Attacking Advanced Breast Cancer
Keep Ovarian Cancer At Bay
Easing Radiation Side Effects
Related Slides
Breast Cancer
Breast Self-Exam

The federally funded study was based on an ongoing analysis of people whose mothers took DES during their pregnancies. This arm of the study looked at about 4,800 women who were exposed to DES in the womb, comparing breast cancer rates in them with those found in around 2,000 similar women who weren't exposed to DES. Results showed DES daughters older than 40 were nearly two-times more likely to develop breast cancer. DES daughters older than 50 may be at even higher risk, but the authors of the study say a longer follow up will be needed to say that for sure.

DES was widely used to prevent miscarriage between 1938 and 1971, when research first linked the drug to rare cancers of the vagina and cervix. The drug was banned from use by the Food and Drug Administration following that discovery.

Because many women exposed to DES are just now getting to the age where breast cancer is more common, researchers believe more DES-related cancers may be found. "This is unwelcome news for the 1 to 2 million women who were prenatally exposed to DES," write the authors, "and underscores the need for regular screening for breast tumors."

They also suggest DES daughters may want to say no to hormone therapy as well, as that treatment has already been linked to a higher risk for breast cancer.

This article was reported by, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to:

SOURCE: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, published online Aug. 7, 2006

Last updated 8/8/2006

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and does not serve as a replacement for care provided by your own personal health care team. This website does not render or provide medical advice, and no individual should make any medical decisions or change their health behavior based on information provided here. All pertinent content provided on this website should be discussed with your personal physician to evaluate whether it has any relevance to or impact on your specific condition. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.

Nov 14, 2006
New! For timely and trustworth health information, expert advice and much more, visit Breast Cancer Connection
Patient Guide
Health Videos
Health Encyclopedia
Health News Archive
Affiliate Information
HealthScout Network
Contact Us
Privacy Policy
Terms of Use

We subscribe to the HONcode principles of the Health On the Net Foundation
About The HealthScout Network Contact Us
Copyright 2001-2006 Choicemedia, Inc. All rights reserved.

Please visit our partner sites: