If you are a woman born between 1938 and 1971 who developed breast cancer, you may be a victim of DES breast cancer.   DES, or diethylstilbestrol, was a synthetic estrogen commonly given to pregnant women between 1938 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage and premature birth.  The daughters of those women – known as DES daughters – are known to be at risk for a number of health problems, including a rare type of vaginal cancer called clear cell adenocarcinoma (CCA), problems affecting the reproductive track, pregnancy complications and infertility.  Recent research indicates that DES daughters may also be at increased risk for breast cancer.

If you are a DES daughter who developed breast cancer, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.  The attorneys at Bernstein Liebhard LLP are investigating DES breast cancer lawsuits, and are available to answer any questions you might have about your available legal options.  We urge you to contact our firm today for a free evaluation of your case.

DES and Breast Cancer

Before it was taken off the market in the 1970s, DES had been prescribed to millions of pregnant women. The drug was not under patent, so it was marketed by a number of different companies.  DES was recalled in 1971 after it was linked to an increased risk of CCA in DES daughters.  To make matters worse, it was later found that DES was ineffective in preventing miscarriage or premature birth.  Thousands of lawsuits have been filed by DES daughters alleging the drug caused vaginal cancer, cervical cancer and fertility problem, and many of those claims have settled.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), women who may be at an increased risk for breast cancer as a result of DES include those  born during 1938—1971.  The CDC’s advisory is based on a study published in 2002 which found that DES Daughters over 40 were 2.5 times more likely to experience breast cancer than were unexposed women over age 40.  A second DES study published in 2006 found a 40% increased risk of breast cancer in DES daughters overall.   However, the risk was over 90% higher in women over the age of 40, and increased by 200% for DES daughters over 50.  The study involved data on 4,817 DES daughters, and compared them to a control group of 2,073 women whose mothers were not given DES.

Recently, a number of DES breast cancer lawsuits have been filed by DES daughters who claim their mother’s use of the drug caused them to develop breast cancer.  In January 2012, one of those lawsuits, involving four sisters, was settled by Eli Lilly just days after it came to trial.  According to their lawsuit, all of the sisters had also experienced miscarriages, fertility problems or other reproductive tract issues which they suspected were caused by DES.  While the terms of their DES settlement were not disclosed, it was considered a huge victory for DES daughters.    Legal experts believe the settlement, the first of its kind, could spark settlements in other DES breast cancer lawsuits pending in courts throughout the country.

How do I know if I am a DES Daughter?

In the U.S., DES daughters were born between 1938 and 1971.  These women are at an increased risk for CCA, fertility problems, reproductive tract issues, pregnancy complications and breast cancer.  If you were born during the time period DES was being used in the U.S. and were diagnosed with breast cancer after age 40, you may be a DES daughter.   If possible, you should ask your mother is she was prescribed this drug while pregnant with you.   The CDC’s DES Update Web site also provides a Self-Assessment Guide featuring a series of questions designed to help individuals assess their likelihood of DES exposure.

Learn More about DES Breast Cancer Lawsuits

The attorneys of Bernstein Liebhard LLP are offering free, confidential and no obligation legal evaluations to DES daughters diagnosed with breast cancer.   To learn more about the legal process for filing a DES breast cancer lawsuit, please contact one of our attorneys today by calling 1-877-779-1414.

Published January 10, 2013 by