Originally posted on https://www.stephenbabcock.com/blog/how-talcum-powder-can-cause-ovarian-cancer/
Are you worried about the links between talcum powder and cancer?
Talc manufacturers have been making headlines in recent years, with women claiming that their products caused them to develop cancer.
Now, more and more women are coming forward with stories of talcum powder ovarian cancer. As a result, manufacturers are paying the price. Consumers are also worried about the risks, wondering whether they should stop using talc altogether.
If you’re one of them, read on.
In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know.
The Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Scandal: What it’s All About
In the comprehensive guide, find out the links between talc and cancer, and what you can do if they affect you.
Why is Talc Dangerous?
Talc is a mineral which is collected from open pit mines throughout the US.
Manufacturers retrieve the substance by drilling through rocks and crushing them. Unfortunately, during this mining process, the talc can sometimes be contaminated by other substances that are also present in the rock.
The most dangerous of these substances is asbestos, which is another silicate that often occurs naturally in close proximity to talc.
Asbestos is a well-known carcinogen. Inhaling the fibers commonly causes cancer of the lungs and larynx, as well as other life-threatening health problems. Exposure to asbestos can also cause ovarian cancer, too.
Because asbestos is so deadly, even a trace amount in talc is cause for concern. When consumers use the powder, either on their children or on themselves, they’re inhaling particles and fibers, which could be dangerous to their health.
So, it’s not that the talc it’self is harmful, but that it’s often mixed with another substance that is. Since this has never been advertised or spoken about until recent years, consumers feel that they have been misled and put at risk.
How the Cancer Forms
For decades, women have been using talcum powder as a personal hygiene product without knowing the dangers.
Many have spent years routinely applying it to their genital areas, underwear, sanitary pads, and tampons to soak up moisture. As parents, they’ve also applied it to their babies to prevent them from developing diaper rash.
However, the fact that the powder often contains asbestos means that these women have unknowingly been exposing themselves and their children to cancer-causing substances as part of their daily routines. While talcum powder may only contain traces of the carcinogen, the consistent use over time means that a large amount of it can eventually build up in the body.
This is because after application, the powder can move through their reproductive systems and reach their ovaries. Once the particles arrive there, they cause inflammation and trigger an increase in cell growth.
Over time, this results in damage to DNA and the development of cancer cells in the ovaries. Then, tumors begin to form.
What’s the Evidence?
Now, there is a sufficient body of evidence to support the claims that talcum powder causes cancer.
The biggest scientific evidence was released in 2015 when peer-reviewed journal Epidemiology published a study on the association between talc use and ovarian cancer.
Analyzing the use of talcum powder by 4,000 women, the study found that using the product in the genital area can increase the risk of cancer by 33%. This is especially the case when the product is used daily.
Another study, published by Cancer Prevention Research in 2013, found the same results, making the claims impossible to deny.
These studies included groups of women who had routinely used talcum powder for a number of years. Information was collected about how much of the product they used, where they applied it, and how often. This was measured against their health conditions.
All of this information was compared with another group of women, who hadn’t developed cancer.
As a result, scientists were able to confirm that the frequent and prolonged use of the product was directly linked to the formation of ovarian cancer.
These aren’t the only studies that have been conducted on the subject. Another study by African American Cancer Epidemiology found that the powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer specifically in African American women, too.
As the evidence mounts, concerns are growing. These studies are laying the foundation for legal cases, which are enabling thousands of women suffering from cancer to hold talcum powder manufacturers accountable.
What is the FDA’s Role?
Talcum powder is a consumer product, not a prescription drug or another form of medication. The product doesn’t claim to treat any kind of condition or alleviate any symptoms.
As a result, the organization isn’t obligated to carry out routine tests for safety. Talcum powder isn’t required to conform to the same regulations that are applied to pharmaceutical products.
That’s part of the reason why levels of asbestos have remained undetected in these powders for so long. Unfortunately, cosmetic companies aren’t required to provide safety information about the talcum powders they product to the FDA.
This means that they can’t guarantee their safety to consumers. Instead, they insist that it is safe if it’s used as intended. However, these claims are now being disproven.
The FDA did conduct one study, which didn’t find any traces of asbestos in talc. However, the organization admitted that the study was too limited to produce conclusive results.
What is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer beings when cancer cells start to form in the ovaries. As these cells reproduce, tumors start to form.
Because of the placement of the ovaries within the abdomen, it’s difficult to know when a tumor is forming. Unlike breast cancer tumors, they aren’t likely to be felt during standard physical checks at home.
This allows them to continue to grow for long periods of time. As this happens, cancer can go on to spread outside the ovaries to other parts of the body. This is called metastatic ovarian cancer.
Here are the stages of development for ovarian cancer:
- Stage 1A – There is cancer in just one ovary
- Stage 1B – Cancer occurs in both ovaries
- Stage 1C – Cancer appears on the outside of the ovaries
- Stage 2A – Cancer spreads to the fallopian tubes
- Stage 2B – Cancer spreads to the bladder and/or rectum
- Stage 3A – Cancer travels outside the pelvis to reach other areas of the abdomen, as well as the lymph nodes.
- Stage 3B – Cancer cells are found on the outside of the liver and/or spleen
- Stage 4A – Cancer cells are found in the fluid around the lungs
- Stage 4B – Cancer reaches inside the lungs, liver, spleen, skin or brain.
Around 22,000 women in the US are diagnosed with this deadly form of cancer each year.
For many of them, the cancer isn’t detected until it has already traveled to other parts of the body. At this advanced stage, treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, and surgery are the most likely options for patients.
Unfortunately, these treatments become less effective when ovarian cancer is in the later stages. As a result, it’s often fatal.
What are the Symptoms?
Unfortunately, the nature of ovarian cancer means that it can often go undetected for years.
In the early stages, women show few symptoms, and the ones they do experience can be easily brushed off or mistaken for something else. This is because they’re not severe, and aren’t unique to ovarian cancer alone.
However, there are some signs and symptoms that women shouldn’t ignore.
First of all, ovarian cancer can cause pressure or pain in the lower abdominal area. This can often be mistaken for menstrual cramps.
Periods can also be affected. They may become abnormal, both in their frequency and their flow.
Ovarian can also cause digestive problems, such as nausea, vomiting, or gassiness. Some patients also find it difficult to eat, feeling full after taking just a few bites of food.
As a result, significant weight loss can occur. Any drastic changes in weight should be noted. While these symptoms may seem trivial on their own, the presence of two or more at the same time should be cause for concern.
Women who are worried about these symptoms can make an appointment for a pelvic exam. During this exam, a doctor can use a transvaginal ultrasound or a pelvic CT scan to check for any abnormalities. They may also use blood tests to check for levels of antigens that are caused by cancer.
They will then conduct a biopsy to check for cancerous cells. This is the only way to confirm the presence of ovarian cancer.
What are the Consequences for Manufacturers?
Now that the links between talc and cancer are becoming more well-known and well-documented, women are starting to fight back against the companies that sold them the product.
This has resulted in a huge backlash for Johnson & Johnson. The company has been a long-standing symbol of public trust, with their baby powder used and trusted by millions of consumers spanning several generations. Now, all of that is changing.
It began in 1999, when a woman filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that their talcum powder had caused her mesothelioma.
However, the case was later dropped when the company denied the claim and refused to hand over test results. Since the plaintiff was unable to provide the huge amount of funds required for testing to prove her claim, she was unable to take it any further.
While this case was unsuccessful, it was integral to the journey to bringing Johnson & Johnson to justice, leading the way for others to come forward.
Now, there are many more cases like this one, and news reports claim that the company knew for decades that their talcum powder products contained asbestos. Since the women who use these products were never warned of the risks, many of them have requested compensation.
For the first time, Johnson & Johnson was forced to answer for this in 2016 in a landmark case. The company awarded $72 million in compensation to the family of a woman who had died of ovarian cancer. Leading up to her death, she claimed that she had used Johnson & Johnson baby powder for around 35 years.
That same year, the company paid another woman $55 million in a similar lawsuit.
In 2018, another lawsuit came. This time, it was much bigger. The company was ordered to pay out a total of $4.7 billion to 22 different women, all of whom had developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder.
The cases keep coming, and another woman received $29 million from Johnson & Johnson earlier this year. The company has racked up more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits, and the legal battles are showing no signs of slowing down.
How Can You Take Legal Action?
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and have a history of using talcum powder, you may be able to claim compensation.
If you file a lawsuit against the manufacturer, you can force them to pay out for your medical bills and lost earnings, and provide extra compensation for your pain and suffering.
In order to do this, you’ll have to hire a personal injury lawyer with experience in talcum powder lawsuits. They can help you build a body of evidence to prove the cause of your cancer and fight your case in court.
Let Us Fight for You
At Babcock Trial Lawyers, we specialize in personal injury cases like these.
If you’re looking to file a talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit, we can help you.
We pride ourselves in our dedication to standing up for our clients and getting them the compensation they deserve.
That’s why we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not totally happy with our services, you can get your money back.
To see what we can do for you, contact us for a free case review.