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DES linked to risk of reproductive problems and cancer
Women who were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) while in utero are more likely to suffer from cancer and reproductive problems, new research into safe motherhood has found.
Scientists at the National Cancer Institute of the US National Institutes of Health investigated what effect giving the drug - a synthetic form of oestrogen - to pregnant individuals had on the daughters they were carrying.
Among the 6,500 women studied, around a third delivered a baby prematurely, one in five experienced infertility and their risk of developing cancers of the vagina, cervix or breast was increased.
Up to ten million female patients had been prescribed DES to help protect against complications during pregnancy before the chemical was banned for mums-to-be by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1971.
This prohibition was implemented after young women in the 1960s developed a rare cancer of the vagina.
In 2011, one Mercury award and two Astrid prizes were given to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's DES Update Campaign - of which the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was part.
Posted by Alexandra George