For many years, women were told that using talcum powder was a safe and effective way to control moisture and provide a fresh-smelling scent. In fact, many feminine products use a talc-based powder. Now, however, overwhelming evidence suggests that using the powder can actually cause cancer.
In fact, in March of 2016, a St. Louis jury ordered the Johnson and Johnson company to pay $72 million in damages to the family of an Alabama woman, who the family claims died from ovarian cancer caused by the company’s talcum powder and its talcum powder-containing products. The company claims its products are safe, but the verdict and other evidence suggests the opposite.
What Is Talcum Powder?
Johnson and Johnson isn’t the only company to use talcum powder in its products; a variety of other companies use the substance to help control moisture, cut down on friction, and help with odor control. Made from the mineral talc, which contains silicon, magnesium, and oxygen—talcum powder is used in a wide variety of products from baby powder to cosmetics. Some talcum powders even contain asbestos, which is known to cause cancer around the lungs when inhaled.
When Using Talcum Powder Becomes Dangerous
The danger with using talcum powder seems to occur when the product is applied around the genital area, which is where many products that contain the substance are marketed towards. Parents often use baby powder that contains talc in their children’s diaper areas, and many women also use the product in that region, as well. Paul Pharoah, Professor of Cancer Epidemiology at Cambridge, stated that it was “biologically possible” that grains of talcum can enter a female’s fallopian tubes and cause inflammation in the ovaries—that could lead to cancer. Additionally, a study conducted by researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, found that applying the substance genitals, underwear, and sanitary napkins increased the risk of developing ovarian cancer by 33 percent.
Why You Could Have Ovarian Cancer and Not Know it
Unfortunately, ovarian cancer is typically not detected until it is in its late stages. Because early detection is not available at this time—pap smears do not test for the presence of this type of cancer—some women aren’t aware they have the cancer until it has spread to other parts of their bodies. In fact, only about 19 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed before the cancer has spread outside of the ovaries. Knowing the signs of ovarian cancer is extremely important, particularly if you have used talcum powder in the past.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
The ovaries are tiny organs that are located deep inside the abdomen. Because of their placement, when a problem occurs, the symptoms are often confused with intestinal trouble or issues that are far less dangerous than ovarian cancer. Common symptoms of this dangerous disease include:
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Urinary urgency or frequency
Symptoms that are also associated with ovarian cancer, but also associated with other conditions include:
- Back pain
- Menstruation changes
- Upset stomach
- Pain during sex
- Ongoing unusual fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Unexplained changes in bowel habits
As you can see, ovarian cancer symptoms could be confused with a myriad of other conditions, including irritable bowel disease, menopause, endometriosis, and other far less dangerous issues.
Do You Believe Talcum Powder Caused Your Ovarian Cancer?
If you believe you have any of the signs or symptoms of ovarian cancer, visiting a doctor as soon as possible is imperative. If the doctor believes you do have cancer, now is the time to take action. Companies have a responsibility and obligation to provide safe products. When products are actually harmful, instead of helpful, you can fight back. The attorneys at Kennedy Hodges, LLP, want to help. Schedule your free consultation by calling 855-947-0707 to speak with a compassionate legal professional about your situation. You can also fill out our short contact form and a legal professional will contact you as soon as possible.