Risky Pregnancy Drug Raised Cancer Odds
A synthetic estrogen called DES taken by millions of pregnant women to prevent miscarriage and other complications may have raised their daughtersâ€™ risk of cancer, new research shows. The new study suggests that the health effects of the drug may include infertility and twice the risk of breast cancer.
The sons of DES users also face health risks â€” testicular problems and cysts â€” but these are less well studied and don’t seem to be as common. Even grandchildren may experience residual effects, although those are yet clear. Some research suggests these girls start menstruating late and have irregular periods, possible signs of fertility issues down the road. DES was used widely from the 1940s through the 1960s to prevent miscarriage, premature birth, bleeding and other problems.
The DES study started in 1992 and tracked 4,600 DES daughters along with a comparison group of 1,900 similar women whose mothers had not used DES. Researchers followed the women over time through surveys and medical records. Their average age at the last follow-up was 48.
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