Talcum powder has been in the news for a while because of its link to ovarian cancer. You are probably reading this because you or someone you love wants more information about this connection and the steps you need to take if you have been affected. This report will explain the most important facts about the talcum powder cancer connection and how to get the help you may need. Scientists have questioned the safety of talcum powder for personal hygiene for decades. In fact, one of the first studies to find talc in the ovaries was conducted clear back in 1971. Since that time, researchers have continued to investigate the safety of products like Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower powder.
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Are Women Getting Cancer from Baby Powder?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. Thousands will die from this insidious disease, mostly because the symptoms may not present until the disease has advanced. Ovarian cancer is a serious threat to all women and scientists continue to try to develop better ways to identify the disease earlier and determine the causes of this type of cancer. Currently, thousands of women across the country are alleging that talcum powder can cause ovarian cancer. In fact, more than a thousand civil suits have been filed across the country against Johnson & Johnson alleging that talc-containing products like Baby Powder were promoted as a safe way for women to stay fresh and hygienic, but instead cause ovarian cancer.
All said, more than 1,200 women and their families have filed complaints against J&J over allegations that the pharmaceutical giant knew talc could cause cancer when used for genital hygiene yet failed to warn consumers of these dangers.
How is Talcum Powder Linked to Ovarian Cancer?
You may remember the commercials for Shower-to-Shower, urging women to use a “sprinkle a day to keep odors away.” Some of the women who have filed lawsuits against J&J say that is just what they did, sprinkled talc powder into their underwear, on sanitary napkins, and onto their perinea areas to help absorb odor and moisture. Little did they know that the powder they were using could migrate from the vagina, through the cervix and uterus, to the Fallopian tubes and ovaries, where the little particles may embed in and inflame tissue. Inflammation is a possible cause of many types of cancer, including ovarian.
Does Science Show That Talc Causes Cancer?
While not every study found a link between talc use and ovarian cancer, the majority found that women who used sprinkled talcum powder in their underwear, on their sanitary napkins, and to the perineal area, had an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Each of the following studies, and this is by no means an exhaustive list, found a positive link between genital talc use and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
|Year of Study||Findings|
|1971||Research published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the British
Commonwealth found that talc particles were found embedded in the ovarian tumor tissue
of 10 of 13 (75 percent) patients studied.
|1982||Published in the journal Cancer, a Harvard study finds that women who regularly
used powder on their genitals/underwear/sanitary pads were three times more likely to
develop ovarian cancer.
|1988||Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers at Stanford found a relative risk of 1.40 in women who used talcum powder on their perineum.|
|1989||Published in the British Journal of Cancer researchers note an increased risk of ovarian cancer with use of talc in the genital area.|
|1992||Published in the Internal Journal of Epidemiology, researchers in Beijing, found an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women who used talc powder around the perineum.|
|1992||Published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers found that greatest risk for ovarian cancer came with long term, genital use of talcum powder.|
|1995||Published in the International Journal of Cancer, talc use in the perineal region was positively associated with the occurrence of ovarian cancer.|
|1997||Published in Cancer, researchers find genital talc exposure significantly associated with the risk of ovarian cancer.|
|1997||FDA recognizes that talc particles are linked to inflammation, and inflammation is linked to the development of certain types of cancer, including ovarian cancer.|
|1999||Published in the Internal Journal of Cancer, researchers find a significant association between talcum powder use in genital hygiene and the risk of ovarian cancer, and called for formal public health warnings.|
|2006||Talc classified as “2B – Possible Carcinogenic to Humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.|
|2013||Published in Cancer Prevention Research researchers conducted a pooled analysis of more than 8 thousand cases found a nearly 24 percent increased risk for ovarian cancer.|
|2015||Published in the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer published research showing a 30-60 percent increased risk of ovarian cancer after talc exposure.|
Do The Courts Agree Talc Causes Cancer?
In 2009, Diane Berg filed the first lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer and learning about studies showing a link between talcum powder use. She had been sprinkling her underwear with powder for most of her life and was diagnosed with cancer at age 49. Berg filed the lawsuit against J&J alleging fraud and gross negligence. The drug company offered a settlement of $1.3 million with a stipulation that Berg sign a confidentiality clause. Berg refused. In 2013, a jury confirmed that talc contributed to the development of her cancer.
In February 2016, a lawsuit filed by the family of Jackie Fox against J&J alleged that the company hid information showing an increased risk of ovarian cancer with genital talc use was solved. Fox had also been using talc regularly for years to help “stay fresh.” Fox died from her cancer at age 62.Fox filed the lawsuit alleging J&J knew and hid the dangers of talc and her family presented evidence including a 1997 internal memo from a J&J medical consultant saying that denying the risk between talc powder and ovarian cancer is “denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.” The jury awarded Fox $72 million. The jury foreman said of J&J, “it was really clear they were hiding something.”
In May 2016, Gloria Ristesund’s lawsuit was resolved after she alleged J&J was aware of the dangers of talcum powder ovarian cancer but failed to warn the public about those dangers. Ristesund had used talc-based products for more than four decades. She has undergone a hysterectomy and related surgeries because of ovarian cancer and is currently in remission. Ristesund accused J&J of not only hiding the talc-cancer link, but also targeting blacks, overweight women, and Latino’s in marketing efforts, three groups most at risk of developing ovarian cancer. The jury awarded Ristesund $55 million.
What Does J&J Say About the Baby Powder Cancer Link?
Johnson & Johnson continues to deny a talc-cancer association and promises to appeal the latest rulings. In a statement, a spokesperson for the company said of the second jury’s decision, “We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers, and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial. We sympathize with the plaintiff’s family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence.”
Johnson & Johnson says it plans to appeal the Ristesund decision.
Where to Get Help
We understand the emotional, physical, and financial toll a cancer diagnosis can have on you and the people that love and depend on you. Moreover, we know that you need to stay focused on being strong and enjoying life to the fullest. That is why we do things a little different than other firms.
With our firm, there’s no games, no waiting, and no surprises. We know you have a lot to think about without having to worry about what’s going on with your case, so we keep you updated on all relevant developments. We take the time to help you determine what to expect and when to expect it. We keep you in the know so you can focus on the things that are important in your life.
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and you used talcum powder products like Shower-to-Shower, Baby Powder or other talc powder for personal hygiene, call us today. Our firm has spent decades advocating for the rights of people who were harmed by common everyday products that were thought to be safe. We help people just like you fight for your rights and the compensation you need and deserve.
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