DES Daughters:Risk Study

DES Daughters Face Higher Breast Cancer Risk: Study

LONDON (Reuters Health) - Thousands of women whose mothers were prescribed a synthetic hormone to prevent miscarriages face more than double the normal risk of breast cancer, British newspapers said on Monday.

They said that an American study of 5,000 women due to be published this week had found that those over 40 whose mothers were give diethylstilboestrol (DES) were 2.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer.

Up to 6 million women worldwide have reportedly used DES, which was promoted by several manufacturers for preventing miscarriage and preterm births. It was introduced in the 1940s, but withdrawn in 1975 after an association was reported between in utero exposure to the drug and the subsequent development of cancer of the cervix and vagina.

The Daily Mail said that the latest study, by researchers at the US National Cancer Institute, followed 5,000 women who were exposed to DES and compared them with a group who were not.

Overall, the DES daughters had a 40% increased risk of breast cancer but the risk was 250% higher in a subgroup of women over 40.

The findings are due to be published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control.

[10/01/2002; Reuters Health]

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