Understanding the Link between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Talcum powder is made from the mineral talc which is formed from elements such as magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. When ground into a powder it has great moisture absorption capabilities. Since the turn of the 20th-century manufacturers have ground talc and used the powder in consumer products, most notably personal-care products such as baby powder, other body powders, and facial powders.

As early as the 1930s scientists and medical professionals began noting the harmful effects talc could have on human tissue. Then in the 1970s and 1980s research revealed that talc particles were embedded in the cancerous tumors of ovarian cancer patients at an alarming rate.

The researchers believed that as talcum powder is applied to the female genital area on a continual basis talc particles may travel into the vagina, through the fallopian tubes and settle into the ovaries. Then a buildup of particles occurs in the ovaries which cause tissue irritation and leads to the development of tumors.

For decades women have used talcum powder in their daily feminine hygiene routine not knowing that they were potentially increasing the risk of developing ovarian cancer. While the women who use the product may not have been aware of the risk, recent evidence has revealed that talcum powder manufacturers, namely Johnson & Johnson, knew of the potential risk yet chose not to inform their consumers.

The evidence came to light in recent lawsuits against J & J over the connection of talcum powder and ovarian cancer.  Jurors of the trials found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them millions of dollars in compensation.

Johnson & Johnson continues to deny that there is any significant evidence linking the habitual use of talcum powder on the genitals to ovarian cancer. They claim that the studies that do reveal a correlation are biased and cite other studies as evidence to their claim. It should be noted that while the main study they cite in their defense does say that the study could not reveal an “overall association between epithelial ovarian cancer and ever use of talc” they did find that “talc use may modestly increase the risk of invasive serous ovarian cancers”. Serous ovarian cancer is a particular type of epithelial ovarian cancer and is generally considered the most diagnosed and most fatal.

Ovarian cancer may not be one of the most diagnosed female cancers, but it is one of the most fatal. Approximately 25,000 women a year are diagnosed with some type of ovarian cancer and an estimated 14,000 die each year from it. Any potential increase in the risk of developing the disease should be taken seriously.

If you are a loved one have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and believe talcum powder use may have been a factor, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact us for a free evaluation.