‘Silent Thalidomide’: Thousands of mothers and their daughters at risk of cancer

‘Silent Thalidomide’: Thousands of mothers and their daughters at risk of cancer from anti-miscarriage drugs they took decades ago

Recent study found drug doubled risk of breast cancer in DES daughters aged over 40
Around 2,000 women have brought cases against drug companies in America after DES exposure

By Neil Sears
Last updated at 2:18 AM on 23rd January 2012
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2090123/Hunt-thousands-women-left-risk-silent-Thalidomide-mothers-took-anti-miscarriage-drugs.html

Tens of thousands of woman could suffer a rare cancer caused by a banned drug taken by their mothers or even grandmothers.

The drug, Diethylstilboestrol (DES), was freely prescribed to pregnant women in Britain for three decades up to 1973, and was supposed to prevent miscarriages.

But it was belatedly banned in Britain after it was found to increase the risk of miscarriage – and it is now feared that it can lead to a deadly cancer to a second and even third generation.

Some 2,000 women have already sought compensation in America, with payouts totalling up to £1bn from the numerous drug companies that sold DES, while scores more are launching more legal action.

Now fresh compensation cases are set to begin here, with tens of thousands of British women to be asked if they could be potential victims of the drug nicknamed ‘the silent Thalidomide’.

As well as causing a rare cervical and vaginal cancer, and possibly breast cancer, in the daughters, and potentially grandchildren, of the women who took it long ago, DES is also being blamed for causing fertility problems.

The drug, a synthetic copy of the female hormone oestrogen, was created in Britain in 1938, and was soon being prescribed to millions of women around the world.

Doubts about the wisdom of using it surfaced in 1953, when an American study showed it caused more, rather than fewer miscarriages.

But it was not until 1971 that US authorities told doctors to stop prescribing it – after it was found that one in a thousand of the daughters of women prescribed DES had developed the cervical and vaginal cancer ‘clear cell adenocarcinoma’ (CCAC).

And it was only in 1973 that British doctors were advised to stop prescribing the drug.

The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has suggested 7,500 British women took DES, but there are other claims that up to 300,000 could be at risk.

Figures suggest that daughters of women who took the drug are made 40 times more likely to develop the cancer CCAC, often when young adults. The cancer is fatal in more than a quarter of cases.

One study suggested that breast cancer risk is also doubled.

It will be impossible for many possible victims to find out, of course, whether their mothers or grandmothers used the drug.

Research on rodents has lent weight to the fear that DES dangerously alters DNA not only in the individual taking the drug, but also that those changes are passed on at least two generations.

Washington DC lawyer Aaron Devine, who is representing the 80 American women currently seeking compensation, is due in Britain in a fortnight to arrange a search for potential victims here.

The first woman in Britain found to have suffered as a result of DES taken by her mother is Heather Justice, 59, of Jarrow in Tyne and Wear.

She was diagnosed with vaginal cancer aged 25, then went through a hysterectomy and other surgery. Records showed her mother had taken DES in the 1950s, but because she did not know which company produced it, has been unable to bring legal action.

Mrs Justice said: ‘One of the problems is that unlike Thalidomide, where you see the problem the minute the baby was born, women who took DES had healthy babies.

‘Problems were hidden until the teens and twenties, by which point we were forgotten about. When I asked my mum what she had taken, she didn’t even remember the name of the stuff. It is a complete and utter minefield.’

Among others who believe they have been afflicted in Britain are Janet Hall, 61, of Bournemouth – whose mother died from lung cancer aged 32 – who had to have much of her cervix removed when she was 20. She suffered a miscarriage, then had two daughters.

One, Hannah, 26, has had pre-cancerous cells found in her cervix, she said.

Mrs Hall said: ‘I feel guilty for my girls. It messes with your mind; it makes you ask why you had to have children.’

A spokesman for the Department of Health spoke of having ‘every sympathy’ for self-proclaimed victims, but said: ‘With regard to compensation for people who believe they have been adversely affected by this drug, this is a matter for the manufacturer(s) and/or the UK licensees of the drug.’

2 comments

  • If one is worried about a miscarriage then on should not be consuming aspartame whilst pregnant. One should also investigate the usefulness of the herb False Unicorn.

    -=The Unhived Mind

  • http://www.herballegacy.com/False_Unicorn.html

    False Unicorn & Lobelia

    (Anti-Miscarriage Formula)

    Usages:

    We offer you a formula here for those who have indication of aborting. This combination should always be on hand because this emergency can appear so quickly that it is shocking and frightening.

    This combination of false unicorn and lobelia will stop the bleeding as explained in the instructions–if the fetus is in a good healthy condition. If the fetus is dead, in many cases, the dead fetus is aborted with ease. Without this help, the fetus, when dead, will rarely abort, lying in the womb and causing infection.

    False Unicorn & Lobelia, which helps nourish the reproductive system supplying hormone building nutrients that can help to sustain pregnancy.

    Dosages:

    Unless otherwise specified, teas are always made with one teaspoon of herbs to a cup of distilled water if obtainable. If hemorrhaging starts during pregnancy, stay in bed, use a bed pan when needed, and use 1/2 cup of this tea each 1/2 hour until bleeding stops, then each waking hour for one day, while in bed as much as possible, and then three times in a day for three weeks. If bleeding continues instead of decreasing, see a doctor.

    Ingredients:

    The anti-miscarriage formula consists of these two herbs: false unicorn and lobelia.

    Testimonials:

    1. Couple Able to Conceive: Dr. Christopher had many successes helping couples conceive. One young married man came to see him about his wife, because he felt she was going to lose her mind. She wanted to have a baby so badly that she would hug her pillow at night. They had been married for some years without any success at conception. Dr. Christopher advised them to do the following: they should both begin to use the mucusless diet. In addition, they were to take two tablespoons of wheat-germ oil three times a day (this contains natural vitamin E, among other constituents, which helps the reproductive system). They were to take two capsules three times daily of false unicorn and lobelia combination. If they were faithful with this program, the Doctor promised that they would conceive.

    And they did! They brought the little baby in to see Dr. Christopher, and the new mother was absolutely glowing with health and joy at the baby in her arms. This couple had other children as well after following the simple herbal program. [EWH p.23]

    2. Dead Fetus Evacuated Naturally and Easily: Lobelia is also an important herb in the anti-miscarriage formula. It will do such wonders as seal up a tear in the bag of waters in an instance of a threatened miscarriage. It will also help to expel, without complication, a fetus that is already dead. One lady who was about five and one half months along in her pregnancy began to show signs of bleeding, as if a miscarriage was about to occur. Some women who were assisting her gave her one-half cup of the tea every half hour, while the pregnant woman remained in bed. The women noticed that the bleeding had not subsided after several hours, so they packed her off to the hospital. No sooner had she arrived in the emergency room and was about to be examined by the doctor, when she expelled a fetus that had been dead for several weeks, unbeknownst to her. The doctor was amazed, and questioned the attendants about the events leading to this spontaneous abortion. The women told him about the false unicorn and lobelia. The doctor commented, “Never in all my years of practice have I seen a dead fetus evacuated from the womb in such a clean manner. Usually we have to surgically remove particles of the placenta which adhere to the uterine walls. The herbs you have used are miraculous. I wish I could use them in my practice–but my hands are tied”. [UP-Lobelia]

    3. Unaborted Baby Later Thanks Dr. Christopher: Dr. Christopher was lecturing in a large city when a young man came up to the podium to shake his hand; he nearly shook the Doctor’s hand off! He said he had been trying to catch up with the Doctor for a long while. His mother had told him that one night, when the weather was fifty below zero, the Doctor had traveled forty miles to their home. The mother was aborting, ready to lose her baby. The Doctor had given her some herbs and saved the baby–and the young man was that baby! He was about twenty-five years old. He said, “I enjoy life. I love you, sir, and I had to thank you”. [UP-Lobelia]

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    http://www.herballegacy.com/Miscarriage.html

    Miscarriage

    Definition:

    An end of pregnancy before the 20th week and occurring by itself.

    Herbal Aids:

    Preventative: Drink the raspberry leaf tea with a little Composition Powder [Chest Comfort] in it. [SNH p.143]

    True Unicorn Root: is a very valuable tonic, especially beneficial and healing to the female regenerative organs. It is a good general tonic, and it has proved especially effective for female cases of habitual miscarriage due to chronic weakness. It may be safely used during the entire period of pregnancy. Due to its powerful uterine stimulative properties, it has proved valuable in cases of sterility and impotence (sometimes achieving healing results within a few weeks; but the more difficult cases must be given for a few months); but as it increases the possibility of conception, it should be avoided where frequent pregnancy is undesirable. True unicorn root is soothing to the gastric area, and is especially useful where the stomach is upset in pregnancy. It resembles false unicorn. [SNH p.288] See dosages [SNH p.288]

    Uterine Tonic, to Prevent Miscarriage, to Ease Cramps and Pains: Wild yam relaxes the muscular fibers, soothes the nerves, and gives positive relief from pains, especially those associated with bilious colic, gall stones, and uterus. It is of great value in nervousness, restlessness, nausea, and pains that are common to pregnancy. Wild yam has a potent tonic effect on the uterus when taken throughout the period of pregnancy. It is excellent for relieving the trying cramps during pregnancy (especially during the latter stages), and will greatly assist in preventing a miscarriage. [SNH p.402] See formula using wild yam, squaw vine, false unicorn and cramp bark. [SNH p.404]

    Tendency to Miscarriage: See formula using American colombo, true unicorn root, golden seal, squaw vine and orange peel. [SNH p.436]

    When ordering false unicorn root, be sure to distinguish it from true unicorn (Aletris farinosa), or else you will not get the therapeutic results you desire. The powder or fluid extract is generally very readily obtained, but few stores ever carry the root itself. [SNH p.466]

    Danger of Miscarriage, Uterine Hemorrhage: Give false unicorn copiously, by the quart. [SNH p.466]

    Pre-delivery, Preventative in Miscarriage: Drink 1 cupful false unicorn every 1/2 hour. [SNH p.466]

    False Unicorn & Lobelia: Dr. Christopher’s Anti-Miscarriage Formula: False Unicorn, 3 parts, and Lobelia, one part, constitute this combination. Unless otherwise specified, teas are always made with one teaspoon of herbs to a cup of distilled water (if obtainable). If hemorrhaging starts during pregnancy, stay in bed, use a bed pan when needed, and use 1/2 cup of this tea each 1/2 hour until bleeding stops, then each waking hour for one day, while in bed as much as possible and then three times in a day for three weeks. If bleeding continues instead of decreasing, see a doctor. [SNH p.532] Lobelia is also an important herb in the anti-miscarriage formula. It will do such wonders as seal up a tear in the bag of waters in an instance of a threatened miscarriage. [UW-Lobelia]

    Squaw Tea (for strengthening the uterus and preventing miscarriage): See formula using beth root, star root, black haw, squawvine and squawweed. [NL 3-8]

    For Threatened Miscarriage: (1) 2 oz. wild yam, 1 oz. coltsfoot. Boil in 1 ½ quarts water for 20 minutes. Take 1 tsp. in a cup of water 3-4 times a day. (2) 1 part black haw, 3 parts false unicorn root, 1 part lobelia. Boil 3 oz. herb in 1 ½ quarts water for 20 minutes. Take 1 tablespoon in water 3-4 times daily. Supplement any treatment with 2000 IU Vitamin E until the danger is passed. [NL 3-8]

    Testimonials:

    1. Saved Both Babies: In our offices in Evanston, Wyoming, a few years ago, we had two cases at the same time from different sides of town. In each of these cases, the women still had a long time before delivery and they were both hemorrhaging. We administered false unicorn, and saved both babies. In one of these cases, the problem was so serious that the doctor said he would scrape the uterus in the morning, for (according to his training) the baby could not live. When he came the next morning, the woman was all right and the baby was delivered a couple of months later. [SNH p.466]

    2. Lobelia the Thinking Herb, Helps Abort Six-Week Dead Fetus Easily: This combination can also help pass a dead fetus. How does it work in both cases? The lobelia in the formula is a thinking herb. Where the baby is strong, as in the above cases, the lobelia seems to have the knowledge to assist in healing a tearing and bleeding condition and stopping the bleeding. But if the baby is dead and should be aborted, the lobelia has the intelligence of directing the abortion. For example, a lady in American Fork, Utah, became pregnant, but started miscarrying in the fourth or fifth month. Dr. Christopher was out of town, but one of his students came over to give her some help. She brought about five other ladies from the class. They all brought false unicorn with them, but one of them remembered the lobelia. They mixed it together, and gave the woman the tea every half hour. Instead of the bleeding receding and eventually stopping, the bleeding got worse. Five of the ladies got scared and didn’t know what to do, because this was new to them, but the sixth lady (the one who brought the lobelia) said, “The doctor said that if the bleeding gets worse, then we have to rush her to the hospital immediately.” They called the American Fork Hospital and asked them to prepare a bed for her. They put her in the car and took her to the hospital, which wasn’t very far away. When the doctor had her on the table, she started to abort the baby. The doctor gasped, saying, “That baby is dead, and has been dead about six weeks. I have never seen a baby abort itself like this; you must have been using something special.” The lady told him she was using an anti-abortion formula. The doctor said, “I’d like to know what it is, but I don’t dare, because I would be in trouble if I used it with any of my other patients. But don’t forget what this formula is, and remember to use it whenever needed.” This formula saved the lady from a stressful D&C, quite a blessing to her. [EWH p.47]

    3. Dr. Christopher Saves Unborn Baby: Dr. Christopher was lecturing in a large city when a young man came up to the podium to shake his hand; he nearly shook the Doctor’s hand off! He said he had been trying to catch up with the Doctor for a long while. His mother had told him that one night, when the weather was fifty below zero, the Doctor had traveled forty miles to their home. The mother was aborting, ready to lose her baby. The Doctor had given her some herbs and saved the baby–and the young man was that baby! He was about twenty-five years old. He said, “I enjoy life. I love you, sir, and I had to thank you”. [UW-Lobelia]

    4. Lobelia to the Rescue Again: Dr. Coffin used Lobelia extensively in his obstetrics practice. He used Lobelia and yarrow combined to stop threatened miscarriage, as well as using the herb itself during childbirth. He described the case of an Irish girl, unmarried, who was unfortunately pregnant. She had been in labor three days under the direction of a physician who considered the case so desperate that he recommended breaking open the infant’s skull, extracting the brains, and then pulling out the remainder of the child. He had planned this operation for two o’clock that day. The girl called for Dr. Coffin, who found her lying on a pallet of straw on the floor, totally exhausted. The head of the child had advanced into the pelvis, where it was completely wedged and had been so for two days. Dr. Coffin gave her a strong dose of red-raspberry leaf tea together with a half-teaspoonful of cayenne; in fifteen minutes he gave her tincture of Lobelia by the teaspoonful. In about one hour the contractions began to increase, the girls strength returned, and in two hours from the time Dr. Coffin had arrived, the child was born, healthy and strong. In this case the Lobelia did not make her vomit at all, although she took enough to have vomited three times over, the doctor commented. He called Lobelia and red-raspberry leaf tea the greatest midwife in the world. Needless to say, the other doctor in attendance was astounded; he said, “Good Good–the child is born?” [UW-Lobelia]

    5. Letter to Dr. Christopher: In the past 20 years I have had a history of nine miscarriages. I have three children ages 20, 19, & 14. All the miscarriages took place in the 2nd and 3rd months. Also with the three children I have, I was in bed most of the first 3 months with spotting and threatened miscarriage.

    Since I have been taking female corrective herbs [Female Reproductive] and others for general building of health, I have become pregnant again. I am now 5½ months along and have not been down at all. The first 3 months if I felt any cramping I took the False Unicorn, Lobelia combination and the problem went away.

    Also, during the first trimester of this pregnancy, we did quite a lot of traveling, attending 2 conventions in the mountains where I did a good amount of hiking which I never could have done. Because of my age of 41, I am at a disadvantage, but thanks to the herbs I feel better than I ever have.

    I had a miscarriage last Spring just before I knew about the False Unicorn, Lobelia combination. I started taking the combination during the miscarriage and had the easiest miscarriage that I ever had.

    Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge in this field. I know of many others that are being helped by the natural method that God has given to us. P.S. The writer now has a cute little girl. Editor. [NL 2-2]

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