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March 14, 1977

Estrogen Use and Cancer Risk

Author Affiliations

From the Clinical Care Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 1977;237(11):1112-1115. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270380056020

DURING the last two years, the lay public and the medical profession have seen a series of reports about the safety and risk of estrogens and oral contraceptives, the toxicities attributed to diethylstilbestrol, the hazards of conjugated estrogens, and several related topics. The pressures for some sort of action have often been so intense that the Senate at one time passed legislation barring the use of a particular synthetic estrogen, diethylstilbestrol. The effects of the estrogens on cancer have been presented and interpreted by epidemiologists, biochemists, gynecologists, and endocrinologists, each with a different perspective and often with differing conclusions. The physician must be prepared to discuss these issues with patients, the public, and those who influence legislative bodies and regulating agencies. It seems worthwhile, therefore, to address some of the basic issues relating to estrogens and cancer with the intention of making the physician able to judge the worth and