Some pregnant women were given DES from the 1940s through the 1960s to prevent miscarriage. Women who took DES themselves have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. Women who were exposed to DES while their mothers were pregnant with them also may have slightly higher risk of breast cancer later in life. They also have a higher risk of cancers of the vagina.
Steps you can take
You have no control over the medicines your mother took when she was pregnant with you. If you were exposed to DES while your mother was pregnant with you, tell your doctor. You also may want to see a doctor at a DES clinic who has expertise in this area of risk. DES clinics can be found at many university hospitals.
There are also lifestyle choices you can make to keep your breast cancer risk as low as it can be:
- maintaining a healthy weight
- exercising regularly
- limiting alcohol
- eating nutritious food
- never smoking (or quitting if you do smoke)
These are just a few of the steps you can take. Review the links on the left side of this page for more options.