Friday 11 January 2013


Media Release
11th January 2013

Australian breast cancer victims denied DES information

A breakthrough legal case this week in Boston USA against drug company Eli Lilly has opened the compensation floodgates for breast cancer victims who were exposed in the womb to the anti-miscarriage drug DES. But thousands of Australian women diagnosed with breast cancer are oblivious to the fact of their DES exposure, its full health implications, the vital health care they need, and that they too, might have opportunity to get compensation.

DES, or diethylstilboestrol, was prescribed to millions of pregnant women over three decades to prevent miscarriage. It was taken off the market in the early 1970s after it was linked to clear cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina/cervix in women exposed to DES fin the womb. The DES Action group in NSW says there would be thousands of women diagnosed with breast cancer among their estimated 185,000 DES daughters in Australia who are oblivious to the link between DES and breast cancer.

"The DES health situation in this country is a huge mess," says Carol Devine, the group's coordinator. "Protecting drug companies is likely at the core of it, especially where the government refuses to promote the DES health issue in public health programs." "The population is oblivious to this extremely harmful drug and now our breast cancer victims are suffering," adds Devine.

The Breastscreen Australia Evaluation Report in 2009 stated DES daughters do not require extra screening. However, there is contradictory advice by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Cancer Council NSW that DES daughters should have annual mammography and breast checks.

More information about DES at


Lisa said...

Thank you for bringing this important story to the forefront. Knowledge is power.

Unknown said...

How do I file a claim??

Carol Devine said...

There has been delay by Eli Lilly in compensating the remaining 72 defendants on this case. A further trial in relation to these cases will be held in Boston on 11 March. The Attorney for these DES daughters is Aaron Levine

Cancer Breast Article said...

thank you for the information

Anonymous said...

I'm only just starting to add up all the reasons why I've suffered nothing but health issues all my life. My mum was given this, I'm certain of it. I was born in 1970, at the age of 14 I had my right ovary removed as there was an egg sized dermoid cyst on it which had destroyed the ovary. At age 25 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was tested for the gene and I don't have it. At age 28 I had another dermoid cyst on my left ovary, which of course meant I may not be able to have my own kids but fortunately the gyno was able to save that ovary (just a sliver was left!) and I went on to have two kids. My baby son had an undescended testicle at birth which required an operation when he was 11 mths old. I also got post natal depression after having him. I went through early menopause at age 37 along with more weird ovarian cysts at ages 37 and 38. I'm now 43 and just had to have a hysteroscopy last week. They found a uterine polyp which had been causing post menopausal bleeding. I'm over this shite! Mum took the drug, I'm convinced now. She said she'd had a few miscarriages in her 30s and took something the doc gave her when she was pregnant with my older sister (born in 1961). My sister has also suffered many gyno health problems too, and the sister after her, born in 1963 had endometriosis. Mum was 40 when she had me in 1970 and the doctor had given her 'something' she reckons. I want to get to the bottom of this once and for all. It's cost me so much money having all these health issues over the last 2 decades plus I want to know if my son or daughter will suffer from anything in the future. Who do I get in contact with?