Vaginal cancer: six years’ experience with screening of a diethylstilbestrol-exposed population

During the 6 years from the initial survey, 830 young women exposed to DES in utero were periodically screened.

Of these 830 patients who responded to the questionnaire,in 1979, 61.7% were found to have cervicovaginal abnormalities, and 65.9% of the patients showed either adenosis or evidence of the prior existence of vaginal adenosis. Screening survey image via SelectScience.

1979 Study Abstract

The physician population delivering obstetric care in Philadelphia between 1950 and 1970 was contacted to ascertain their use of diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy. Of the 31.8% of the physicians who responded to the questionnaire, 71.8% used DES during pregnancy and 12.7% desired assistance in review of their records.

During the 6 years from the initial survey, 830 young women exposed to DES in utero were periodically screened for cervicovaginal abnormalities and clear cell adenocarcinoma. Of these 830 patients 61.7% were found to have cervicovaginal abnormalities, and 65.9% of the patients showed either adenosis or evidence of the prior existence of vaginal adenosis. Eight patients were treated for clear cell adenocarcinoma. Two cases were detected while asymptomatic. Seven of the patients are living with no evidence of cancer, and two of these have survived over 5 years.

Sources and more information
  • Six years’ experience with screening of a diethylstilbestrol-exposed population, NCBI PMID: 463989, Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1979 Aug 15;134(8):860-5.
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