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diethylstilbestrol (dy-eth-il-stil-bes-trŏl) n. a synthetic female sex hormone (see oestrogen) that is licensed to treat breast cancer in postmenopausal women and prostate cancer but is now rarely used because of its toxicity. Prescribed in the 1950s to prevent miscarriage, it was subsequently found to increase the risk of cancers of the breast, genital tract, uterus, and ovary in daughters of patients who were treated with it.

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