Latest DES Breast Cancer Cases Update

13 Sep

The transcript for the DES breast cancer cases is considered public record, so the following info can be shared without compromising anything.

The past Chair of the Harvard School of Public Health said on Day 2 that overwhelming evidence shows that DES exposure causes breast cancer.
Below are some notable quotes in the transcript:
  • P. 31: (starting at line 13)  “… so the bottom line of this is it provides strong evidence that DES exposure increases the risk, and that the risk increase starts sometime around age 40 and then grows as the women grow older.”
  • p.34: (starting at line 13) “… you can conclude that this is the most powerful design we have in epidemiology…”
  • p.35 (starting at line 9): “… I found it interesting and reassuring that no one has pinpointed any sort of bias in the Palmer study in all of the documents I have read.”
  • p. 44 (starting at line 19 ): “… two practical implications: one is that it reinforces the importance of women who have been exposed to participate in mammography screening programs in order to allow early detection of breast cancer if they develop it; and secondly, because women who have been on hormone replacement therapies are already at an increased risk, the indications should be very restrictive to add another major risk factor if they have also been exposed to DES in the uterus.”
  • p.56 (starting at line 2): “…so in my interpretation this indicates strongly that there is, indeed, a dose-response trend between DES exposure and risk of breast cancer.”
  • p. 57 (starting at line 3): “…it’s overwhelmingly plausible that the mechanism exists whereby DES could increase the risk of breast cancer in humans.”
  • p. 21 (starting at line 21): “… I found it overwhelmingly likely based on this methodology that DES causes breast cancer, increases substantially the risk of breast cancer in women starting about the age of 40.”
  • p. 61 (starting at line 1): “But once she has contracted the disease, we can say that there’s a 75% probability that the disease developed due to DES exposure.”
If you would like to be emailed a copy of the transcript quoted above, please email your request to We’ll send it over to you.

2 Responses to “Latest DES Breast Cancer Cases Update”

  1. Lee G Koss September 14, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    In July 2000 I asked a genetic counselor at the NJ Cancer Institute if my in-utero exposure to DES might have been a factor in my developing triple negative breast cancer in 6/2000 at age 46. I was told, “No.” Since that time, my dear sister developed double negative plus breast cancer at the age of 49 and died at the age of 52. As far as I know, my mother did not take DES during her pregnancy with my sister BUT when she was examined at about the age of 20 by a gynocologist at the Hospital for Women in Washington, DC, she was told that her gyn exam showed changes similar to intrauterine exposure. Most recently, in 6/2011, I was diagnosed with breast cancer again, in the same breast as before, even today’s though I had had mastectomy in 2000. This was a new primary
    triple negative-different subtype-breast cancer. I am currently in treatment and hope that this cancer will go into remission. I also want to mention that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1979, at age 49. The ER/PR status of her tumor is not known because Georgetown University Hospital lost her slides or tumor sample before this was determined. She died at age 54 from metastic breast cancer in 1982. My sister also died from metastatic breast cancer. There is no other breast cancer in my mother’s family-she was one of 4 daughters and my sister who died and I are 2 of 7 girl cousin’s. My youngest sister is alive–she chose to have bilateral prophylactic mastectomies at about age 45, a few years after I was diagnosed. My aunt always thought that my mother developed breast cancer because she had taken DES. I guess that she was right. Note: both my sister who died and a tested BRAC1 and BRAC2 negative. I will learn soon whether I am positive or negative for the newest BRAC genetic mutations – but now I guess it may have been DES exposure that caused my mother, my sister (23 months younger than me) and me to develop breast cancer.

    • Julie Oliver-Zhang September 14, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

      Hi there,

      If you would like to find out whether you may have been exposed to DES in utero, you can go to your OBGYN and ask for a colposcopy and HSG. Now, your breast cancer treatment will not differ if you were DES-exposed, but use of other estrogens like HRT is something you must seriously discuss with your physician.

      I am very sorry for your losses. If you need more information, please contact me at

      Take care,

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