How Does Baby Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer?

The Systemic Migration and Chronic Inflammation of Fibrous Talc

November 28, 2019 - There have been a number of lawsuits in the headlines lately regarding Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder with talc and Shower to Shower with talc potentially causing ovarian cancer. Very recently, asbestos was found in certain lots of J & J baby powder with talc, opening the way for lawsuits from those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of using J & J talcum powders. There are currently some 20,000 pending lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, primarily from women who developed ovarian cancer after using J & J talcum powders for feminine hygiene purposes. Research has shown that when women use talcum powder in the perineal area, the talc fibers can travel up into the ovaries.

Once these fibers—foreign bodies to the body—embed in the ovaries, inflammation occurs. Years and years of this inflammation can potentially lead to ovarian cancer. Breathing in the talc, which also potentially contains asbestos, can result in a diagnosis of mesothelioma. J and J has lost big in a number of talcum powder trials yet has appealed every decision. Unfortunately, many of the verdicts have been reversed—not because the scientific proof was lacking, rather due to errors of law and venue issues.

How Does Baby Powder Cause Cancer? There is plenty of evidence that backs up the fact that baby powder with talc, when used for feminine hygiene purposes, can cause ovarian cancer. Only four years ago, many claims were made by the manufacturers of talcum powders that this “evidence” had too many holes in it, and there was really no scientific data to back up the claims that talcum powder use could lead to ovarian cancer. Since that time, we have seen more and more studies being done—and older study results coming to light, which seems to collectively point to the fact that using talcum powder in the perineal area could result in a significant risk of ovarian cancer.

According to cancertherapyadvisor.com, new research, which was presented at the 2019 annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology in Honolulu, a scientific team showed a clear link between talc and inflammation in normal and ovarian cancer cells. Dr. Saed stated that when the talcum powder was added to ovarian cancer cell lines, the oxidative state of the cells increased. Healthy fallopian tubes reacted in a similar manner—a major connection in light of emerging science, which believes ovarian cancer begins in the fallopian tubes.

Most of the evidence which links a woman’s use of talcum powder to an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer is taken from two case-control studies done in 2016. In these studies, women who already had ovarian cancer were asked about their hygiene routines; a link between the use of baby powder with talc was definitive. In another study, women who reported using talc in their genital area were 44 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  

Johnson & Johnson continues to state that talc fibers are unable to travel from the perineum of the outer genital area to the ovaries, however, the FDA agrees that the research is indisputable, and Health Canada agrees. Once the talc fibers get to the end of the line—the ovaries—the result is chronic inflammation. When the process starts and continues over time, it causes genetic damage and cancer. When Johnson’s baby powder with talc was applied to normal epithelial ovarian cells in the lab, chronic inflammation was the result, so it appears the facts are clear—talc fibers can certainly make their way to the ovaries.

Getting Help Following Your Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer or Mesothelioma Resulting from Talc Use - If you have received a diagnosis of ovarian cancer after using J & J talcum powder for feminine hygiene, or if you have received a diagnosis of mesothelioma after using J & J talcum powder, it could be extremely beneficial to speak to an experienced talcum powder ovarian cancer attorney. We can help you with every aspect of your potential claim against J & J. We will ensure all deadlines are properly met and that all your questions are answered. 

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Author: Andrew Sullo
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Andrew Sullo

Andrew SulloAndrew Sullo

Andrew Sullo is a National Trial Lawyer's Top 100 Selection for 2013-2019. He is a member of the American Association of Justice (2013-2019), and a recipient of the 2019 AVVO Client's Choice Award.

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