Talcum Powder and Uterine Cancer

A recent study suggests that perineal talcum powder use increases the risk for a certain type of uterine cancer, particularly among postmenopausal women. However, more research in this area is needed.

Talcum Powder and Cancer

Talc is a naturally-occurring mineral that consists mostly of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. Natural talc can contain asbestos, which has been linked to mesothelioma and lung cancer. However, talc-based powders for consumer use in the U.S. have been asbestos-free since the 1970s. The genital use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene purposes is classed as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Since the 1970s, at least 20 studies have suggested that long-term perineal talcum powder use increased the risk of ovarian cancer by about 33%.

The relationship between talcum powder use and uterine cancer has not been well-studied. However, research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention in 2012 did suggest a relationship, at least among post-menopausal women. The analysis included 66,028 women, of whom  59 were diagnosed with invasive endometrial adenocarcinoma between 1982 and 2004. Perineal talc use was associated with 21 to 24% increased risk for the disease, depending on frequency of use.

Talcum Powder Litigation

Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower, is facing hundreds of talcum powder lawsuits filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer due to their use of the company’s talc-based powders as part of their daily feminine hygiene routine. In February 2016, a Missouri state court jury ordered the company to pay $72 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the family of a woman who had died of the disease. In April, another ovarian cancer victim whose case was heard in Missouri was awarded $55 million in total damages. According to their lawsuits, both women had applied Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products to the genital region on a daily basis for decades. Read More

What is Uterine Cancer?

Uterine cancer occurs in the hollow, muscular organ where a fetus grows when a woman becomes pregnant. There are two major types of uterine cancer:

  • Uterine Sarcoma: These cancers start in the muscle layer (myometrium) or supporting connective tissue of the uterus. Subtypes include leiomyosarcomas and endometrial stromal sarcoma.
  • Endometrial cancers: These cancers start in the cells that make up the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium). Subtypes of these cancers include adenocarcinoma, carcinosarcoma, squamous cell carcinoma, undifferentiated carcinoma, small cell carcinoma and transitional carcinoma.

Symptoms associated with uterine cancer include:

  • Vaginal bleeding, spotting or other discharge
  • Pain in the pelvis
  • Feeling a mass (tumor)
  • Unexplained weight loss

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Reviews

Bernstein Liebhard LLP is offering free legal reviews to women who may have been harmed as a result of long-term, genital talcum powder use. To learn more, please call (888) 994-5118.

Last Modified: June 30, 2016

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