DES was a synthetic hormone long held as effective prevention against miscarriage. However, DES was removed from the market in 1971 after it was found to have been linked to rare vaginal cancer in the offspring of women prescribed DES.
Marylou LaRose is a product of DES pregnancy. Her mother, who had ten children in total, was above 40 years of age and had not given birth in five years when she became pregnant with her youngest child. According to Marylou, who contributed her story to The Ottumwa Courier (10/15/12) in association with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, her mother was deemed a high risk for miscarriage and prescribed DES. According to Marylou, her mother was told taking DES to prevent miscarriage was "perfectly normal and safe."
However, Diethylstilbestrol turned out not to be safe for Marylou, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 19. She survived that challenge, only to be hit with a diagnosis of cervical cancer five years later at age 24. "Again, more surgery, more chemo, and thankfully no radiation at that time," Marylou told The Courier. "I again survived."
But it wasn't over yet for Marylou, who is a so-called 'DES Daughter.' Over the ensuing 24 years she has been diagnosed with uterine cancer, DES breast cancer, and melanoma. Marylou is of the belief that all these diagnosis related to DES cancer.
"I believe each cancer was directly caused by the DES my mother was given to promote a strong, healthy pregnancy," Marylou told The Courier.
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It is estimated that more the six million women were prescribed DES for miscarriage prevention. Therein lay the possibility there could be millions of DES daughters adversely affected and at risk, in this way.
It is not known if LaRose is participating in a Diethylstilbestrol lawsuit. It should be noted that the Batavia woman has been diagnosed with DES cancer no fewer than six times, with two battles against ovarian cancer??"the latter representing her first, and her most recent diagnosis of DES cancer. LaRose has been cancer-free since 0ctober 13, 2010.
LaRose notes that her nine older siblings were not affected by Diethylstilbestrol, as theirs' were not a DES pregnancy.