For decades, members of the medical and scientific communities have published studies linking talcum powder use and an increased risk of ovarian cancer. While the exact reason for this link is the subject of ongoing research, many believe talc particles enter the vagina and migrate to the ovaries. While some scientists do not believe this connection has been proven conclusively, others believe there is a strong link between talc usage and a heightened ovarian cancer risk.
The connection between talc and ovarian cancer has recently entered the public consciousness. In 2016, juries in two states found that Johnson & Johnson was liable for failing to warn users of the risks of ovarian cancer. Each of these juries awarded substantial verdicts to the plaintiff, including millions of dollars in punitive damages which are intended to punish a defendant for its conduct. On the heels of these verdicts, hundreds and potentially thousands of talc users who have contracted ovarian cancer may bring claims against Johnson & Johnson.
The first American study that linked talc usage and ovarian cancer was published in 1982. This study, titled Ovarian cancer and talc, a case-control study, was one of many to follow. Below are three studies released in the last three years connecting ovarian cancer and talc use.
A study published in Cancer Prevention Research titled Genital Powder Use and Risk of Ovarian Cancer surveyed more than 8,500 women with ovarian cancer and more than 9,800 women who did not have cancer. More than 31% of the women with ovarian cancer used talcum powder, while only 25% of the women without cancer used talcum powder. These numbers suggest a link between talcum powder usage and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
The most recent study linking talc usage and ovarian cancer was published in the journal Epidemiology. Titled The Association Between Talc Use and Ovarian Cancer: A Retrospective Case – Control Study in Two U.S. States, this study interviewed more than 2,000 women with ovarian cancer and 2,100 women without ovarian cancer about their talcum powder usage habits.
They found “an association between genital talc use and ovarian cancer” and a “significant trend with increasing talc-years of use.” Talc-years refer to the number of years a woman applied talc to her genitals. This study found that women with more talc-years are at a greater risk for contracting ovarian cancer.
Another study found that African American women were at a greater risk of ovarian cancer due to talc use than women of other races. This study, titled Association between Body Powder Use and Ovarian Cancer: the African American Cancer Epidemiology Study (AACES) surveyed 584 African American women with ovarian cancer, and 745 who did not. They found that nearly 63% of women with cancer used talcum powder, while only 53% of the women who did have cancer used talcum powder.
Taken together, these studies would seem to show a connection between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. Ongoing research may reveal additional details about talcum powder and ovarian cancer.
If you or someone you love used talcum powder and has ovarian cancer, you may have a claim for damages. The attorneys of Clifford Law Office provide exceptional representation to individuals and families across the United States.
Sources: Ovarian cancer and talc: a case-control study, National Center for Biotechnology Information, July 15, 1982, Daniel W. Cramer, Genital Powder Use and Risk of Ovarian Cancer: A Pooled Analysis of 8,525 Cases and 9.859 Controls, Cancer Prevention Research, May 2013 by Kathryn Terry The Association Between Talc Use and Ovarian Cancer: A Retrospective Case – Control Study in Two U.S. States, Epidemiology, May 2016, Daniel W. Cramer, Allison F. Vitonis, Kathryn L. Terry, William R. Welch and Linda J. Titus, Association between Body Powder Use and Ovarian Cancer: the African American Cancer Epidemiology Study (AACES), Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention, May 2016, Joellen M. Schildkraut