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The Dangerous Relationship Between Ovarian Cancer and Talcum Powder

This guest post was contributed by Chris Zimmer of Zehl & Associates, PC. A Houston personal injury law firm.

Everyone alive today is participating in a terrible experiment. Modern human beings are exposed to hundreds, possibly thousands of chemicals on a daily basis. Women who use cosmetics apply an average of 168 different chemicals to their bodies everyday. It seems as if every few weeks there is a new substance linked to cancer, while hidden substances like lead are affecting communities all over the country.

Unfortunately, if you want to avoid exposure to dangerous chemicals, it can be really hard to differentiate between legitimate claims and chemophobe conspiracy theories. However, when it comes to talcum powder and ovarian cancer, there is serious cause for concern. Researchers are getting closer and closer to definitively proving that talcum powder causes ovarian cancer.

To better understand your risks from talcum powder exposure, here is some more information on this possible carcinogen.

What is talcum powder?

Talcum powder is a cosmetic product used to absorb moisture and friction. Generally, one can find talc in common cosmetic products like baby powder and many facial makeup powders. Talcum powder is composed of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen, but more dangerously, talc in its natural form can contain asbestos, an extremely harmful chemical known to cause many different types of cancers. For generations, personal injury lawyers have been representing men and women whose lives were cut short by asbestos exposure.

What studies have been done to prove the link between talc and cancer?

Most case studies have been focused on two different relationships:

  1. Whether people who have had long-term exposure to natural talc fibers are at a higher risk of lung cancer from breathing them in.
  2. Whether women who apply talcum powder regularly to their pelvic region have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

What do the ovarian cancer studies show?

One of the most referenced studies for this relationship was completed by researchers at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Principal investigator Joellen Schildkraut found that the regular use of talcum powder resulted in a heightened risk of ovarian cancer no matter where it was applied, and that African-American women were at a greater risk than any other demographic.

Schildkraut’s team took data from 584 black women with ovarian cancer and 745 women without the disease from around the United States. Their results were shocking: they found that users of genital powder had more than a 40% increased risk of cancer, while those who used non-genital powder had an increased risk of more than 30%. Nearly 63% of women with the cancer and about 53% of the healthy patients dusted themselves regularly with talc products.

Researchers on Schilderkraut’s team chose to research the risk in African-American women, as the demographic has been known to use it more regularly. In fact, a 2015 case-control study in Los Angeles found that 44% of African-American women reported using talcum powder, compared to only 30% and 29% of white and Hispanic women respectively.

How can you minimize your risk to ovarian cancer?

Schilderkraut believes that there is no need to use talcum powder, as it causes such extreme health problems. Instead, she recommends using talc-free cosmetic products whenever possible.

As she told Reuters, “I was a cynic until these recent studies came out. As you look across all these studies, I would say, why use it? It’s an avoidable risk for ovarian cancer.”

What are some common symptoms of ovarian cancer to be aware of?

Ovarian cancer can have no symptoms, but if you feel pain in the abdomen and/or pelvis, extreme bloating, rapid weight loss, indigestion, nausea, a lump or liquid in the abdomen, or fatigue, then contact your gynecologist right away.

If you are in need of Houston Personal Injury Lawyers, contact Zehl & Associates today for an initial consultation.