By stabilizing the level of natural estrogen, DES had the effect of minimizing morning sickness and prevented miscarriage, or so it was believed. Research showed that the drug was negatively interfering with the reproductive system of the baby and in 1971 its use was stopped.
The study shows that women exposed to DES in the womb have twice the chance of developing breast cancer, as opposed to no exposed women. Furthermore, the risk is proportional to the quantity of DES administrated. Moreover, 2 million women have been exposed to the drug. Information about major risk to develop rare cancers of the vagina and the cervix existed. DES is also responsible for premature births in cases of daughters reaching maturity.
"Because the commonly used female hormone supplements have been shown to independently increase risk of breast cancer, it might be wise for exposed women to avoid such supplements whenever possible," declares Heather Spencer Feigelson, PhD, MPH, senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society.
"Engaging in regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight are strategies that all women can employ to reduce their risk of breast cancer," Mrs. Spencer Feigelson added.
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