Friday, August 19, 2016

The Importance of Pathology Preservation in a Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit

August 19, 2016 - If you were diagnosed with ovarian cancer years ago, and you are just now hearing about the potential link between the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene and ovarian cancer, you probably have many questions. If you used talcum powder for feminine hygiene for many years you may now wonder whether your diagnosis of ovarian cancer was the result of that use. There have been three talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits to date. All three of those lawsuits resulted in decisions in favor of the plaintiffs.


 

The first talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit was filed by Deane Berg. While a South Dakota jury found in favor of Berg, no damages were awarded. The second talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit was filed by the family of Jacqueline Fox. Fox died months before the trial began, however in depositions taken before her death she stated she had used Johnson & Johnson talcum powder in the perineal region for more than thirty-five years. A Missouri jury awarded Fox’s family $72 million. Ten million of the award was designated as compensatory damages, while the remaining $62 million was designated as punitive damages. The third trial resulted in a $55 million dollar verdict for Gloria Ristesund, who had used J& J talc-based products for years.

 

The Importance of Preserving Tissue Samples from Those Diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer

Baby powder ovarian cancer is diagnosed by taking a biopsy—most often by removing the ovarian tumor—then examining that tissue sample underneath a scanning electron microscope, looking for talc fibers embedded in irregular cells.  As far back as the 1970’s, researchers discovered talc fibers in the tissue samples taken from women who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It is believed that talc fibers migrate up through the vagina, the uterus and the fallopian tubes before finding their way to the ovaries, where they cause significant levels of inflammation, which is a well-known factor in many different cancers.

 

If your baby powder ovarian cancer diagnosis occurred years ago, you may have real concerns regarding whether you will be able to definitively prove your ovarian cancer was the result of talc fibers in your ovaries. A federal law known as CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) governs clinical laboratories. In order to obtain and maintain CLIA accreditation, labs are required to keep tissue samples for the following minimum amounts of time:

 

·         Cytology slides must be kept for a minimum of five years;

·         Histopathology slides must be kept for a minimum of ten years, and

·         Paraffin blocks must be kept for a minimum of two years.

 

Additionally, some states have regulations which require longer retention times for pathology specimens than required by CLIA. As an example, New York has some of the most stringent retention regulations, requiring that histopathology slides be retained for twenty years, abnormal cytology slides for ten years, and normal cytology slides for five years. For all laboratories, once the required amount of retention time has been met, they may choose to continue to store pathology samples based on storage availability as well as the philosophy of the individual institution.

 

Steps to Take if You Received Your Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis Years Ago

If you believe your ovarian cancer biopsy samples could be in danger of being destroyed, it is extremely important that you speak to an experienced talcum powder ovarian cancer lawyer who can take the necessary legal steps to preserve your pathology. The preservation of pathology samples in a talcum powder ovarian cancer claim is of the utmost importance, as these potential cases are usually qualified by examining excised tissue samples to verify the presence of talc fibers. [Proving a case without these samples can present challenges.] A well-qualified baby powder ovarian cancer attorney can be of assistance in this process.
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Author: Andrew Sullo
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Andrew Sullo

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Andrew Sullo is a National Trial Lawyer's Top 100 Selection for 2013-2018. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice.

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