Mammography screening behaviors of women exposed prenatally to diethylstilbestrol

Continued monitoring is recommended for DES Daughters

2012 Study Abstract

In utero diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure is a risk factor for rare development of vaginal and cervical cancer and may potentially be a risk factor for breast cancer. Mammography use in this population is relatively unknown; therefore, this study aims to determine if in utero DES exposure is associated with the frequency of mammography screening examinations while considering demographic and clinical factors.

Using combined DES cohort questionnaire data, self-reported mammography screening over the past 5 years (2001-2006) was analyzed in women aged ≥45 years. Binary logistic regression assessed if DES exposure was associated with mammography use after adjustment for benign breast disease (BBD), previous cancer diagnosis, and whether insurance access influenced screening use.

Overall, the frequency of mammography examinations was similar for both DES-exposed and unexposed women. DES-exposed (n=2986) and unexposed women (n=1397) over the age of 44 reported receiving ≥3 mammography examinations in the past 5 years (73.8% and 74.0%, respectively). After adjustment, DES exposure was not associated with ≥3 mammograms in the past 5 years compared to ≤2 examinations (odds ratio [OR] 1.00, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.86-1.17), p=0.99).

In utero DES exposure was not associated with mammography use, nor was health insurance status or a BBD or cancer diagnosis. Because of the potential elevated risk for breast cancer in women exposed prenatally to DES, continued monitoring of standard mammography recommendations is recommended for this group, which is predominantly over the age of 45.


  • Mammography screening behaviors of women exposed prenatally to diethylstilbestrol, Journal of women’s health, NCBI PubMed PMID: 22150213, 2012 Feb 21.
  • Featured image credit Janko Ferlič.

Have your say! Share your views