The British Medical Community Approach to Drug Labelling, Diethylstilbestrol use, Public Awareness

Extract from: Meyler’s Side Effects of Endocrine and Metabolic Drugs

Meyler's Side Effects of Endocrine and Metabolic Drugs book cover image
The DES drug was prescribed until 1973 in the UK

In Britain the medical community was alerted to the risks by an editorial in the British Medical Journal in 1971, but it was only in 1973 that the Committee on Safety of Medicines advised against the use of Diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy. In Britain, drugs were commonly not labelled with information about their contents, nor with warning of risk until well into the 1990s, thus patients were kept in ignorance.
No measures have yet been taken in Britain to alert the public to the need for medical surveillance of women who have been exposed to Diethylstilbestrol in utero. It is estimated that in the U.S.A, the Netherlands, and France, diethylstilbestrol was given to over 5.3 million pregnant women, and it is known that it has been given to pregnant women in most parts of the world
. ”

Extract from: Meyler’s Side Effects of Endocrine and Metabolic Drugs
by Jeffrey K. Aronson.

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Cancer Treatment in UK: we do not know the whole Truth says Lord Saatchi

Is the “NHS ‘Masking’ Number Of Patients Dying Of Cancer Treatment”?

15,000 people die every year because of cancer treatments, Lord Saatchi says
UK NHS ‘masking’ number of patients dying of cancer treatment, warns Lord Saatchi

Lord Saatchi, who is attempting to introduce new legislation to enable doctors to carry out alternative treatments without fear of litigation, said that more than 15,000 people could be dying annually in the UK because of cancer treatments rather than the illness itself, but official figures only classify the underlying cancer as the cause of death.

Read 15,000 people die every year because of cancer treatments, Lord Saatchi says, The Telegraph, by Steven Swinford, 20 May 2013

Read NHS ‘Masking’ Number Of Patients Dying Of Cancer Treatment, Warns Lord Saatchi, The Huffington Post UK, 21 May 2013

What I thought I knew

A Memoir by Alice Eve Cohen

What I thought I knew, a Memoir by Alice Eve Cohen on Flickr #DES #Pregnancy
Completely infertile, Alice’s doctor said. Then, she got pregnant…

Solo theater artist Alice Eve Cohen knew that childbearing was simply impossible – her own mother had taken DES, and Alice had a deformed uterus, among other disqualifiers. So when what doctors misdiagnosed as a tumor turned out to be a 6-month fetus, the 44-year-old Alice had to wrestle with clueless specialists, cavalier insurance companies, and her own no-see-um maternal instincts.

Her darkly hilarious memoir, What I Thought I Knew is a page-turner filled with vivid characters, and many surprises and twists of fate.
With the suspense of a thriller and the intimacy of a diary, Cohen describes her unexpected journey through doubt, a broken medical system, and the hotly contested terrain of motherhood and family in today’s society.
Be aware that this book is not for the faint of heart. It definitely tackles some difficult issues.

More information and related post

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Today is International Clinical Trials Day in The UK

On International Clinical Trials Day, the NIHR promotes its “OK to ask” campaign

International Clinical Trials Day: 20 May
International Clinical Trials Day

International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world on or near the 20 May each year, to commemorate the day that James Lind started his famous trial on the deadly disease scurvy. It provides a focal point to raise awareness of the importance of research to health care, and highlights how partnerships between patients and healthcare practitioners are vital to high-quality, relevant research.

On International Clinical Trials Day, the NIHR promotes its “OK to ask” campaign to encourage patients and the public to ask medical professionals about clinical research.

Find out more:

Pregnancy or not : what is and is NOT appropriate to say to a Woman about her Body and/or Fertility

12 Things You Should Never Ask a Woman
Never ask any woman if she is pregnant…

Any woman struggling with infertility or who has experienced a miscarriage has probably had to deal with her fair share of stupid comments and reactions from others.

Erica Berman, PhD, thought she would put together a little “guide” regarding what is and is not appropriate to say to a woman about her body and/or fertility…

Read 12 Things You Should Never Ask a Woman
HuffPost Women, October 2012

Sadly for many DES daughters having their own children is not possible! Many of us who have experienced miscarriages, want to have kids but are struggling or unable to…

Oncoplastic Breast Cancer Surgery

Combining Oncology Cancer Treatment and Plastic Surgery

Oncoplastic Surgery: New Approaches Are Changing Breast Cancer Surgery Options
Oncoplastic Breast Cancer Surgery combines Oncology Cancer Treatment and Plastic Surgery

Treating breast cancer almost always involves surgery, and for years the choice was just having the lump or the whole breast removed. Now, new approaches are dramatically changing the way these operations are done, giving women more options, faster treatment, smaller scars, fewer long-term side effects and better cosmetic results.
It has led to a new specialty – “oncoplastic” surgery – combining oncology, which focuses on cancer treatment, and plastic surgery to restore appearance
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Read Oncoplastic Surgery: New Approaches Are Changing Breast Cancer Surgery Options, by Marilynn Marchione, May 2013
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DES caused intersexed Development in the DES Sons by blocking Testicular Testosterone Production

A Blog Post written by Hugh Easton, DES Son

Hugh Easton comment about DES effects on males
a DES Son opinion

My own opinion is that DES caused intersexed development in the DES sons by blocking testicular testosterone production. DES is a potent chemical castration agent that for many years the treatment of choice for hormone-sensitive prostate cancer. Just 3mg of DES per day is enough to fully chemically castrate an adult man; the starting dose as a miscarriage treatment was 5mg per day (and often went much higher during the later stages of the pregnancy). It’s a not widely appreciated fact, but male development isn’t driven directly by genes, but instead by hormones (primarily testosterone) produced in the testicles of a male fetus. Given the ability DES has to block testosterone production, it’s no surprise that many DES sons are physically and/or psychologically intersexed. The surprising thing is that there’s so little public awareness of it!

If the problem is just one of testosterone production being suppressed during the critical time sexual development was taking place, then I don’t see any reason for there to be any long term genetic effect or 3rd generation effects. However, one thought that’s occured to me is that DES daughters often have a great deal of difficulty getting pregnant and carrying the pregnancy to term, which puts them at vastly increased risk of medical intervention – and potentially being given hormonal medication during the pregnancy. If one of these hormonal treatments for miscarriage (DES) can cause problems with intersexed development, then the likelihood is that others can too. There’s one drug in particular called hydroxyprogesterone caproate, which is in widespread current use to prevent miscarriages and premature births, and is being given in doses which I’m sure would have some serious gender-bending effects if you were to give the same dose to an adult man.

In short, although DES was phased out 40 years ago, there’s plenty of other sex hormone derivatives still finding their way inside pregnant women and potentially causing many of the same problems. That’s why I’ve been trying so hard to get people to take me seriously, and see whether there’s a link between exposure to these drugs before birth and endocrine and intersex-related problems later in life!

A post comment by Hugh Easton

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Australian Pharmacies displaying 1950s DES Drug Poster

A ’50s ad carries a powerful message

A ’50s ad carries a powerful message
DES Action NSW is asking pharmacists to display the historic DES posters

In a joint project with students from Macquarie University, DES Action NSW is asking pharmacists to display the historic DES posters at their scripts-in counters to prompt people to find out about problems associated with exposure to diethylstilboestrol (DES).

So far 75 Sydney pharmacies have agreed to take part in the project but according to DES Action NSW co-ordinator Carol Devine the participation needs to be more widespread.

Read A ’50s ad carries a powerful message
by Emma Swain, May 15, 2013.

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