Researchers have examined the relationship between talc powder and ovarian cancer. The research shows that the regular use of talcum powder-based products, especially around the genital area, increases the risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer. While talcum powder no longer has widespread use, it is still available on the shelves today.
Types of Ovarian Cancer
Not all ovarian cancers are the same. There are different types of ovarian cancer, though some types are more common than others. These include:
- Epithelial ovarian cancer: The most common type of ovarian cancer, epithelial ovarian cancer, spreads to the pelvis lining and reproductive organs before impacting other organs. Some subtypes of epithelial ovarian cancer are low malignant potential tumors, endometrioid, clear cell, and mucinous.
- Ovarian germ cell tumors: Often benign, ovarian germ cell tumors occur in the egg-producing cells found in the ovaries. It is a type of cancer more often found in young women. Overall, it is a less common type of cancer relative to epithelial ovarian cancer, making up just 2% of the total cases.
- Sex cord-stromal tumors: This type of cancer is caused by an overabundance of certain female hormones and can cause vaginal bleeding. This type of tumor makes up around 1% of ovarian cancer cases.
- Ovarian sarcoma: This very rare type of ovarian cancer develops in the connective tissue found in ovarian cells.
- Krukenberg tumors: This type of gastrointestinal tumor can spread to the ovaries.
- Ovarian cysts: Ovarian cysts are fairly common during ovulation and go away on their own. In rare instances, cysts can develop into ovarian cancer.
This is just a preliminary overview of the types of ovarian cancers. There are many other variations, subtypes, and stages that are possible. The stage of disease progression and the type are important to the prognosis and treatment options.
Dangers of Talc
There is a known link between talcum powder and cancer. Commercially manufactured talcum powder is made from a naturally occurring mineral known as talc, which often contains small amounts of asbestos. Even with talcum powder labeled as “asbestos-free,” it is possible that there are trace amounts of asbestos in the talc. Asbestos is a carcinogen and can cause various types of cancer in humans.
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Talc Application Dangers
Women are more likely to experience ovarian cancer if talc was used near their genitals. However, talcum powder applied to other parts of the body could also lead to increased cancer risk. If women inhale the talcum powder or use it under armpits or to absorb sweat, it could be almost as dangerous.
There is a growing number of research studies that highlight the dangers of talc use and ovarian cancer. In a case-control study, researchers explored the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. They asked women with and without ovarian cancer whether they used talcum powder and about how they used the product. Overall, women who regularly used talcum powder in their genital area were much more likely to be in the group of women with ovarian cancer. Studies in different parts of the world have the same results.
The research is conflicting with regards to the application of talc powder and ovarian cancer risk. The use of talcum powder around the perineal/ genital area is most closely linked to epithelial ovarian cancer. However, other types of ovarian cancer are possible as a result of talcum powder use.
There are some ways that women can lower their personal risk of developing ovarian cancer. First, women should avoid using any products with talcum powder or other known carcinogens. Other factors that reduce your risk include long-term use of birth control pills, tubal ligation, hysterectomy, birth, and breastfeeding. Women should always discuss their individual ovarian cancer risk with their OB/GYN to assess personal risk and to see which strategies are most appropriate for their specific needs.
Other lifestyle factors, such as diet, fitness level, and overall health can also make an impact on a person’s general cancer risk. If you have any questions about the medical aspects of ovarian cancer and what steps you can take to protect your health, you can talk to any of your family doctors or specialists for advice. If you develop cancer, it is possible that a product you used or a chemical that you suffered exposure to caused it.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help You
If you or a loved one received a diagnosis of ovarian cancer and have a history of talcum powder use, you could be entitled to compensation from the talcum powder manufacturer. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 to learn more.