Did talcum powder cause my ovarian cancer?

Talcum powder has been available to consumers for many years. Used on babies and by adults, it has been a common product in most households. Not only is talc an ingredient in soap and cosmetics, it’s also found in toothpaste, chewing gum, and antiperspirants. While talcum powder may seem to be a harmless product, it has been linked to increased ovarian cancer risks since the 1970s.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer has always been difficult to diagnose, especially because the early symptoms of this condition often go unnoticed. Although some symptoms in advanced stages of this cancer are more obvious, it’s still easy for doctors to overlook them. Symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Pelvic discomfort
  • Abdominal swelling/bloating
  • Bowel habit changes, such as constipation
  • Frequent need to urinate

Ovarian Cancer Statistics And Risk Factors

It’s unknown if the risk factors for ovarian cancer actually cause this condition. However, the following risk factors are worth noting:

  • Age. The older you get, the higher your risk of ovarian cancer. It’s rare in women younger than 40, and half of ovarian cancer patients are women 63 and older.
  • Weight. The more obese you are, the higher your risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Reproductive History. If you’ve carried a child to term before age 26, your risk for ovarian cancer is lower than women who get pregnant after age 35.
  • Fertility Drugs. Some fertility drugs have been known to increase the risk of developing ovarian tumors.
  • Birth Control. Using birth control actually lowers the risk of ovarian cancer after 3 to 6 months. The longer the use, the lower the risk.
  • Family History. Five to ten percent of ovarian cancer stems from inherited mutations. 
  • Talcum Powder. When applied directly to the vaginal area, talcum powder could cause cancer to the ovaries. Asbestos contamination may have been the contributing factor in the past, but now that products are required to be asbestos-free, more testing is being done to determine the safety of talcum powder.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 22,800 new cases of ovarian cancer will occur in 2016, and 14,240 women will die from this condition. While there has been a slight decline in ovarian cancer deaths over the last 40 years, 1 woman in 75 will develop ovarian cancer.

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer can occur from the application of talcum powder to the vaginal area. The powder travels to the ovaries where it can cause inflammation and take years to dissolve. Doctors have found talc particles inside cancerous ovarian tissue, which supports the claim that talc may be a risk factor for ovarian cancer.

If you’re concerned about the possible connection between talc and ovarian cancer, check to see if the products in your home are talc-based, and choose a healthier alternative. Baking soda, corn flour, cornstarch, and powdered rose petals can be good alternatives to talcum powder.

We Can Help

If you suspect that your ovarian cancer diagnosis was a result of using talcum powder, call the Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm. Companies that did not warn customers of this potential risk may be held liable. Visit our website, or call us to schedule a free consultation. We’ll determine if your situation is  cause for action.