Talc, a key ingredient in baby powder and other personal care products, is known for its ability to absorb moisture. Talc is a mineral that is made up of different elements, mainly magnesium, silicon and oxygen. When talc is finely ground, it helps to reduce friction and absorb moisture. Personal care products giant Johnson & Johnson has marketed talcum powder to women for genital hygiene for decades. Many women routinely use talcum powder as a way to stay cool and comfortable and to prevent odors.
Talc Powder Increases Ovarian Cancer Risk
A recent study by the American Association for Cancer Prevention found that the use of talcum powder-based products on a woman’s genitals increases the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Habitual use of these products on the genital area results in particles of talc traveling into the vagina and settling in the ovaries after traveling through the Fallopian tubes. This can result in cancerous cells forming (and possibly growing and spreading) as a result of the ovary becoming irritated by the presence of these particles.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer can include bloating, abdominal pain, changes in bladder and bowel habits, as well as overall fatigue. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 22,000 women in the United States are expected to be newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016, while more than 14,000 women are expected to die from ovarian cancer during the same time-frame. “Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. A woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 75. Her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 100. (These statistics don’t count low malignant potential ovarian tumors.)” While not all cases of ovarian cancer are caused by the use of talcum powder, it is reasonably suspected that a significant number of cases each year are attributable to the use of talc without the talc-user or her family being aware of that fact.
Ovarian cancer must be diagnosed through a biopsy (removal of a piece of the tumor and examining it under a microscope). There are other, less-invasive tests that can be run in order to determine if the symptoms that a woman is experiencing could be ovarian cancer, such as image testing or certain blood tests, warranting further testing.
Read more about talc and ovarian cancer.
In 2016, three different juries in St. Louis, Missouri, found that manufacturer Johnson & Johnson knew of the ovarian cancer risk associated with its talc products but failed to warn consumers about this risk. Both juries awarded multi-milliondollar verdicts to the women (Johnson & Johnson is appealing the result of both cases). Although diaphragm and condom manufacturers discontinued the use of talc on their products decades ago because of ovarian cancer concerns, Johnson & Johnson still has not taken steps to warn women of this serious risk. Johnson & Johnson faces thousands of lawsuits by users of its talc-based hygiene powders and who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer as a result. Cases are pending in various courts across the country.
Women who have applied talc-based powder to the genital region face an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Burg Simpson is investigating claims of ovarian cancer in women who used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder or Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene by applying the powder to the perineal or genital area on a regular basis for at least four years.
If you or your loved one used talcum powder for feminine hygiene and developed ovarian cancer, you may be entitled to compensation.
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