Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

For women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the prognosis is often quite grim. Symptoms tend to be vague and can mimic other, less serious health problems. In addition, there are currently no tests that can detect the cancer in its early stages. As a result, by the time the cancer is detected, it has often progressed to an advanced stage.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 15,000 women lose their lives to ovarian cancer each year in the United States. Studies have shown that regular use of talcum powder in the genital and peritoneal area as part of a daily feminine hygiene routine may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

What is Talcum Powder?

Talcum powder is made from talc, which is a naturally occurring mineral made up of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. In its natural form, talc also contains asbestos, which is known to cause certain types of lung cancers when inhaled. However, asbestos has been removed from all talcum products in the United States since the 1970s. Talc continues to be used in a wide range of consumer products, including baby powder, cosmetics, and antiperspirants, as it is effective at absorbing moisture and keeping the skin feeling fresh and dry.

While products like Johnson’s Baby Powder are advertised as being so gentle and harmless that it can be used on babies, research suggests that regular, long-term use of talcum powder may not be so harmless for women who have used it in their genital area. This is because the talcum powder fibers can make their way into the fallopian tubes, where they eventually settle into the ovarian tissue. In 1971, scientists found talc particles in malignant ovarian tumors.

Twenty percent of today’s ovarian cancer cases are linked to the regular use of talcum powder. Women who have their fallopian tubes tied are 40 percent less likely to develop ovarian cancer, whereas women who do not have their tubes tied are at a 30 percent greater risk of developing the disease.

Healthcare Organizations Weigh in On the Issue

Numerous studies have investigated the link between talcum powder and certain types of cancer, including ovarian cancer. Some have been inconclusive, whereas others have found modest increases in the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Researchers are continuing to study the connection between talc and ovarian cancer.

In the meantime, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization, made the following statements regarding talc:

  • Talc that contains asbestos is classified as carcinogenic to humans.
  • Due to a lack of sufficient data, talc that does not contain asbestos is not classifiable with regard to carcinogenicity to humans.
  • Based on the evidence available, talc is classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans if it is used in the genital or perineal area.

A number of high profile lawsuits have been filed against companies like Johnson & Johnson, claiming that they did not adequately warn consumers about the dangers of using the product and the connection to ovarian cancer. Companies have a responsibility to include visible warnings on all product packaging. Physicians should also warn patients against using baby powder as part of a feminine hygiene routine. A failure to so can put patients at risk of serious health issues, including certain types of cancer.

Baltimore Talcum Powder Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims Harmed by the Use of Talc

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and you regularly use talc as part of your personal hygiene, contact the Baltimore talcum powder lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our dedicated team will conduct a thorough investigation into you case and identify all liable parties. We will seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve and work tirelessly to protect your legal rights. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.