March 12, 2014 — The risk of ovarian cancer may be 30-60% higher for women who use baby powder (talcum powder) in the groin area. More than 20 studies have linked the use of baby powder to “modest increases” in the risk of ovarian cancer.
For women who use baby powder every day, the risk of ovarian may be substantially higher. In theory, the powder could travel into the vagina, through the fallopian tubes, and into the ovaries. Constant irritation could cause inflammation and cancerous cellular changes.
In 2003, Anticancer Research combined data from 16 studies and found that women who used baby powder had a 33% increased risk of ovarian cancer. A subset of studies indicate that women who use baby powder may be 60% more likely to develop ovarian cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, the average woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is about 1.4%, so a 30-60% increased risk translates to a 1.8-2.2% lifetime risk for women who use baby powder.
Another study, published in 1996 by American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, examined ovaries of women who had them removed for reasons other than ovarian cancer. Talcum powder was found in all of the ovaries, including ones from women who did not use the products. This suggests that women can ingest talc from using baby powder on their children, or possibly in cosmetic products.
A growing number of women are coming forward and filing ovarian cancer lawsuits. In October 2014, 56 year-old Sioux Falls resident Deane Berg won a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson after a jury found that she developed ovarian cancer as a result of using baby powder and Shower to Shower, two products that contain talcum powder.
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