Risky pregnancy drug raised daughters' cancer odds

October 6, 2011 3:46:06 AM PDT
A new federal study finds that a drug that millions of pregnant women took decades ago to prevent miscarriage and complications has put their daughters at higher risk for breast cancer.

Cancer and other health problems are showing up among many of these daughters, now over 40. Some may not even know of their risk if their mothers never realized or told them they had used the drug, a synthetic estrogen called DES.

The new study suggests that infertility is twice as common and that breast cancer risk is nearly doubled in these daughters.

The sons of DES users also face health risks -- testicular problems and cysts -- but these are less well studied and don't seem to be as common.