Women who use products containing talcum powder on their genitals for personal hygiene are at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.
Several small studies have been conducted and show evidence of ovarian cancer risk among women who use powder on their genitals. However, the data has not produced strong enough findings. Researchers with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Obstetrics and Gynecology Epidemiology Center in Boston, Mass., conducted a meta-analysis of several studies to see if they could strengthen or weaken ovarian cancer claims with genital powder use.
Their research involved 8,525 women who reported they used talcum powder in their genital area, and 9,859 who did not. Researchers estimated lifetime number of genital powder applications from the duration and frequency of use.
Researchers found that women who used the powder on their genitals on a regular basis increased their risk of ovarian cancer by 24 percent. Women who used the powder on other parts of their body, however, did not increase their risk for cancer.
The theory is that particles from talc can travel from the vagina to the uterus, through the fallopian tubes and into the ovaries where it can inflame tissue and serve as an inviting bed for cancerous cells to grow and multiply.
In fact, a woman recently won a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson after claiming that regular use of the company’s Shower to Shower body powder on her genitals caused her to develop ovarian cancer. The damning evidence came from three different doctors who tested her cancerous tissue and said they found talc particles. One of the researchers told jurors that as many as 10,000 ovarian cancer cases a year may be caused by regular use of talcum powder in the genital area.
Source: Cancer Prevention Research