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(DES) n. a synthetic female sex hormone (see oestrogen) that was prescribed in the 1950s and 1960s to prevent miscarriage. It was subsequently found to increase the risk of cancers of the uterus, ovary, and breast, particularly the risk of clear-cell carcinoma of the genital tract in the daughters of patients who were treated with it. Although licensed to treat breast cancer in postmenopausal women and prostate cancer, DES is rarely used because of its toxicity.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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