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An image of a woman working at a computer Interactive DES Self-Assessment Guide
The following assessment will help you determine your risk for DES exposure and the appropriate steps you should take to minimize your risk. This self-assessment is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's DES Update — information for you, your family, and your health care provider.

Please read the following information and then complete the short quiz. This assessment is for your own personal use. Your answers are confidential, and no personal information is collected or stored on this site.

Who Should Use this Self-Assessment Guide?
  • Women who were pregnant in the years 1938 through 1971
  • Women who were born during 1938-1971
  • Men who were born during 1938-1971
Is There a Medical Test for DES Exposure?

No known medical test (such as blood, urine or skin analysis) has been developed that can detect DES exposure. However, the DES Self-Assessment Guide is designed to help you assess whether you might have been exposed to DES.

Note: DES is sometimes confused with the drug Thalidomide that caused birth defects. Thalidomide was never approved for prescription in the United States. DES was called by different labels. Some of the most common were stilbestrol and DESPlex.

   What is DES?

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic estrogen that was developed to supplement a woman's natural estrogen production. First prescribed by physicians in 1938 for women who experienced miscarriages or premature deliveries, DES was originally considered effective and safe for both the pregnant woman and the developing baby.

In the United States, an estimated 5-10 million persons were exposed to DES during 1938-1971, including women who were prescribed DES while pregnant and the female and male children born of these pregnancies. In 1971, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Drug Bulletin advising physicians to stop prescribing DES to pregnant women because it was linked to a rare vaginal cancer in female offspring.

More than 30 years of research have confirmed that health risks are associated with DES exposure. However, not all exposed persons will experience DES-related health problems. CDC's DES Update has more information about the health risks associated with DES exposure.

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