Studies Associated with Talcum Powder Use and Ovarian Cancer

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With Johnson & Johnson just losing their second talcum powder trial, the focus on whether talcum powder can potentially lead to ovarian cancer, is increasing daily. In February a jury awarded $72 million in a wrongful death suit against Johnson & Johnson after Jackie Fox died from ovarian cancer. Fox had used J & J baby powder with talc as well as J & J Shower to Shower with talc for feminine hygiene for over thirty-five years.

While some studies appear to definitively link the use of talcum powder with ovarian cancer, others are less conclusive. Johnson & Johnson continues to maintain their powders containing talc are safe, therefore did not require a warning to consumer.

Meta-Analysis of Studies on Ovarian Cancer and Talc

In 2010, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention looked at several studies on the subject of whether using talcum powder in the perineal area increased the risk of ovarian cancer. It was found there is actually very few comprehensive studies on the subject. It was noted that the Nurses’ Health Study addressed the issue of perineal use of talcum powder as far back as 1982. This particular analysis included studies with a total of more than 66,000 women. A positive association between talcum powder and endometrial cancer (21 percent increase in the overall risk) was observed in postmenopausal women who had ever used talcum powder in the perineal area.

Talc Use Could Lead to Endometrial Cancer and Ovarian Cancer

For women who regularly (at least once a week) used talcum powder for feminine hygiene, the risk increased to 24 percent. This meta- analysis noted that some 16 other studies had concluded the use of talcum powder in the perineal area could increase the risk of ovarian cancer by as much as 30 percent, but that none had addressed other gynecologic malignancies such as endometrial cancer. The meta-analysis also noted that little information is available on the factors which influence endometrial cancer, which is a hormone-responsive cancer. As many as 40 percent of women in the United States regularly use talcum powder for feminine hygiene, making this subject an extremely serious issue.

Inflammation from Talc Potentially Leads to the Development of Cancerous Cells

The results of the meta-analysis also suggested the potential role of inflammation as a contributor to both ovarian and endometrial cancer. Since talc is a well-known inflammatory agent, damage to DNA as well as the malignant transformation of cells are possible. Such a mechanism of inflammation, could, at least in theory, allow talc to travel to the uterus. There is some evidence which supports the fact that inert talc particles could potentially travel through the genital tract. Because talc is a poorly soluble chemical, it can take as many as eight years to fully dissolve.

Study Concludes “Modest” Increase in Ovarian Cancer Among Those Using Talc

A 1999 study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute associated the use of talcum powder with ovarian cancer in a number of case-control studies. It was noted that talc was originally implicated due to its similarity to asbestos, which has been definitively linked to ovarian cancer in occupational settings. In fact, before the 1970’s, asbestos was regularly found in talcum powder due to the fact that where talc is found is generally the same places asbestos is found.

The U.S. government mandated that no asbestos was allowed in talc, however subsequent studies continued to find an association between the use of talc in the genital area and ovarian cancer. This study concluded a “modest” increase in risk for those who had ever used talcum powder in the genital region, associated with serous invasive tumors. Women who reported daily use of talc had a higher risk of invasive serous cancer of the ovaries. Women who have developed ovarian cancer or other types of cancers after talcum powder in the perineal area should speak to a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible to determine their options and to protect their future. 

Contact Our Jackson Product Liability Lawyers

If you or someone you love has developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson baby powder, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Mississippi product liability attorney.

At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe in fighting aggressively for injured Mississippi consumers. We also believe in holding negligent product manufacturers responsible for their actions and for the injuries they have caused. We can help you obtain the money you need to fully recover. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at 1-601-948-1600 or 1-877-231-1600.

Find out if you’re eligible to file a talcum powder lawsuit 

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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