Is There a Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer?

Does talc cause cancer?

For nearly five decades, scientists have increasingly realized what companies like Johnson & Johnson refuse to admit: using talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product may increase a woman’s risk of ovarian and cervical cancer.

baby powder talcumCompanies that make or distribute baby powder and products like Shower to Shower are aware of the research indicating an increased risk of cancer, and they have clear knowledge that women use these products for feminine hygiene. Nonetheless, most of these companies refuse to warn consumers of the risk. The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers is here to help women and families in Louisiana impacted by talcum powder-related cancer hold these companies accountable.

Talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product

Johnson & Johnson has been using talcum powder as a skin product for over a century. In 1894, it began providing talc to users of its medicated bandages in order to soothe skin irritation. When the customers began using the powder on their babies’ diaper rashes, Johnson & Johnson introduced its Toilet and Baby Powder.

Talc has been used in personal hygiene products because it is one of the softest minerals available. The fine powder reduces friction while also absorbing moisture, odor, and oils. So many adults use Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products – as an all-over after-shower finish, a foot powder, to clean hair, and even sprinkled in underwear and on female sanitary items – that the company is estimated to have made over $325 million in sales of the products in 2016 alone.

Scientific evidence links talcum powder and cancer

Researchers first began to suspect a link between talc and gynecological cancers over forty years ago and since then, the body of scientific evidence has continued to grow.

1971 talcum powder cancer research study

In the early 1970s, scientists began to suspect a link between gynecological cancer and talc. A small group of researchers started to look at a connection when they noticed talc particles embedded deeply in the tissue of ovarian and cervical tumors. Their initial study, “Talc and Carcinoma of the Ovary and Cervix,” was released in 1971. It could not conclusively name talc as the main cause of the cancer, but it urged scientists to further investigate the link.

1982 study links talcum powder to ovarian cancer

Dr. Daniel Cramer, MD, ScD, who is an obstetrician/gynecologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was the lead author on a 1982 study which was the first to find the use of talcum powder to be linked to ovarian cancer.

The report, “Ovarian Cancer and Talc: A Case-Control Study,” compared 215 women with epithelial ovarian cancers to 215 control women. It found that the likelihood of cancer increased with the use of talc products for personal hygiene. Women who dusted talcum powder on either the perineum or sanitary napkins were nearly twice as likely to have ovarian cancer. Women who did both were more than three times as likely to develop cancer.

2011 research into genital talc exposure and cancer risk

Karin Rosenblatt, PhD, a professor of public health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was the lead author on “Genital Powder Exposure and the Risk of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer, “a case-control study in 2011. The study found a relationship between the use of talc-based genital powders and ovarian cancer. Dr. Rosenblatt has stated that she believes the use of genital powders increases the cancer risk by about 30%.

2013 Cancer Prevention Research study

In 2013, Cancer Prevention Research published a comprehensive analysis of nearly 20,000 individuals and considered the extent and duration of their genital powder exposure. The study included 8,525 cases and 9,859 controls and calculated the risk of ovarian cancer in light of the frequency of genital powder use. The researchers found a modest increase, of about 30%, in risk of ovarian cancer with talcum powder use.

Unanswered questions about talc and ovarian cancer

There are still a number of questions researchers would like to answer about talcum powder and cancer. How can talcum powder cause ovarian cancer?

Consumers, too, have unanswered questions. Can you get testicular cancer from talcum powder? Is talc in makeup bad for you?

The research shows a link between talc-based products (but not cornstarch-based products) and internal use but scientists are not entirely certain how or why there is a relationship. While any consumer may wish to proceed with caution in general when it comes to using talcum powder, it is especially important to avoid any sort of internal use.

Review your case with a talcum powder cancer lawyer

Bart Bernard is a committed and passionate personal injury lawyer with law offices in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana. His dedication to fighting for those who have been wronged by big businesses has earned him a spot in the Elite Lawyers of America and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

Bart Bernard puts his experience to work on behalf of victims of talcum powder exposure. If you or a loved one has developed ovarian or cervical cancer and you believe talcum powder may be to blame, call the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers to set up a free consultation. There is no obligation, and no fee unless we win money on your behalf. Call today and learn why filing a talcum powder cancer lawsuit may be the best decision for you and your family.

Additional talcum powder cancer resources:

  1. BJOG, Talc and Carcinoma of the Ovary and Cervix, https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1471-0528.1971.tb00267.x
  2. NCBI, Genital powder exposure and the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3384556/
  3. Cancer Prevention Research, Genital powder use and risk of ovarian cancer: a pooled analysis of 8,525 cases and 9,859 controls, http://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2013/06/12/1940-6207.CAPR-13-0037

Last modified: May 14, 2018

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