Has anyone been exposed to diethylstilbestrol (D.E.S) in utero?

Posted by marys1956 @marys1956, Aug 31 9:54am

Has anyone here been exposed to DES while in-utero? My mom was prescribed it in the 1950’s. I’ve had a hysterectomy, cervical cancer, vaginal cancer (now returned).

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Gynecologic Cancers group.

Hello @marys1956 and welcome to Mayo Connect. As I am a DES daughter as well your question interests me. While I've never experienced gynecological cancer, I've had a rare form of cancer of the upper digestive tract. I would like to invite one of Connects mentors, @naturegirl5, to this discussion as she may have more information about this.

Did you develop gynecological cancer as a young woman or as an older adult? Did you experience any fertility problems?

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@marys1956. As far as I know my mother was not prescribed DES in the 1950's. I've had uterine cancer – endometrial – and had a hysterectomy in 2019 and a local recurrence in 2021. No one has ever asked me if my mother was prescribed DES when I was in utero. Now that you've posted it occurs to me that this question should be asked of our generation.

At first glance I don't have more information but I will do some digging.

When were you diagnosed with cancer and what has been your experience? Did you have fertility problems? Are you in contact elsewhere with other women whose mothers were prescribed DES?

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I would like to know what DES stands for.. not familiar and curious.

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@rose53

I would like to know what DES stands for.. not familiar and curious.

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Hello @rose53,

Good question! D.E.S. was a hormone treatment that was given to pregnant women who were at high risk for a miscarriage, premature labor, etc. Here is a link to an article about DES from the website of National Cancer Institute website, https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/hormones/des-fact-sheet.

It's use was ended in 1971.

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@rose53

I would like to know what DES stands for.. not familiar and curious.

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@rose53. Teresa @hopeful33250 gave a really good answer. DES stands for Diethylstilbestrol.

I remember when DES was in the news. It was very frightening.

A woman I used to work with in the late 70's told us (our group) that her mother was prescribed Diethylstilbestrol (DES). At the time she was about 25 years old which was about the same age as I was then. I remember how frightened she was about the possibility of cancer and infertility. I've lost track of her over the years and I wonder what happened. I'm hopeful that she got married and had the family she so wanted.

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@hopeful33250

Hello @rose53,

Good question! D.E.S. was a hormone treatment that was given to pregnant women who were at high risk for a miscarriage, premature labor, etc. Here is a link to an article about DES from the website of National Cancer Institute website, https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/hormones/des-fact-sheet.

It's use was ended in 1971.

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Thank you.

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