Monday 18 October 2010


There are currently 18 case reports of DES associated clear cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina/cervix held by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. However, the figures for this cancer type held by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) provide a more reliable estimate for DES exposure in Australia. Reports of this cancer type to the AIHW are steady.

The Institute's current data (1982-2006) shows 42 cases below age 50, and 142 cases across all ages for clear cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina/cervix in the general population. From this information, we can calculate the current estimate in Australia to be 168,000 - 568,000 DES exposed mothers, daughters and sons.

We are informed that the AIHW will be able to provide more data in December.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Hopes Boosted For DES Apology

Hopes are now rising for the US Apology for DES. Caitlin McCarthy (US DES daughter and screenwriter) has news that Senator Scott Brown is sending out the following message to everyone who has written to him about the DES apology:

Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns about the effects of diethylstilbestrol (DES). I value your input on this and other issues and appreciate hearing from you. As you may know, DES is a synthetic estrogen that was developed to supplement a woman's natural estrogen production. Originally prescribed by physicians in 1938 for women who experienced miscarriages or premature deliveries, DES was considered safe and effective for both mother and developing baby. Following a 1971 published report citing health concerns for mothers and children, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) subsequently advised physicians to discontinue prescribing DES in pregnant women. By 1998, the drug was removed from the market for reasons of safety and efficacy in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 5-10 million persons were exposed to DES between 1938-1971, including pregnant women and the children born from those pregnancies. I understand your concerns regarding the exposure of millions of women and children to DES since 1938. At this time, please know that I have been working with my Massachusetts colleague, Senator John Kerry, on this issue. We have sent a letter to Commissioner Hamburg at the Food and Drug Administration to inquire about an apology from the FDA in recognition of the hardships endured by families across the country. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. If you should have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me or visit my website at
Sincerely Scott P. Brown United States Senator

NOW is the right time for Australians to exert more pressure on US Senators Kerry and Brown by supporting the DES apology. Here, Down Under, we can certainly do with the apology's flow on benefits!
Addresses below to write in support:

Senator John Kerry (MA)
United States Senate
218 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Scott Brown (MA)
United States Senate
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-2102

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Vale Pat Cody - DES Action Founder

We have sad news of the passing of Pat Cody, the founder of DES Action USA. Pat was ever the consummate activist and she was a remarkable women. During the process of our establishing DES Action Australia-NSW, Pat was a great mentor and friend. If not for her invaluable ideas and encouragement, the group may not have lifted off the ground. She will be very much missed.

In photo: Pat Cody with Dr Jules Black (Medical Spokesperson for DES Action Australia-NSW), enjoying lunch and information exchange in San Francisco, 2003.

Here is the link to her obituary titled Pat Cody, Bookstore Owner, Pioneering Feminist Health Activist, which appeared in The Berkeley Daily Planet newspaper: