Of the 22,000 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed in the United States this year, 10 percent – or a staggering 2,200 cases – are likely caused by regular use of talcum powder in the genital area, according to expert testimony.
Harvard University epidemiologist Dr. Daniel Cramer has studied the link between talcum powder and cancer for 30 years. In 2013, he presented evidence during a trial that supported plaintiff Deane Berg’s claims that use of Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower body powder in her genital area for personal hygiene caused her to develop ovarian cancer. Cramer presented evidence of a “dose response” indicating that ovarian cancer risk increases with the length of time a woman uses talc-containing products on her genitals.
Cramer wasn’t the only expert to testify on Berg’s behalf. Dr. John J. Godleski, a Harvard University pathologist, examined Berg’s cancerous tissue and found the presence of talc. Toxicologist Dr. Gary J. Rosenthal, also testified that the minerals that make up talc can have a carcinogenic effect on human tissue.
It is believed that talc can travel through the uterus and cervix, up the fallopian tubes to the ovaries where it can inflame tissue, creating a hotbed for cancerous growth.
Studies dating back to the 1960s have shown conclusively that frequent use of talcum powder in the genital area poses a significant risk of ovarian cancer. Documents also show that consumer health care giant Johnson & Johnson was made aware of these risks and encouraged to warn women, but the company refused.
Beasley Allen Law Firm has filed about 200 ovarian cancer lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of women who say they would have never used baby powder on their genitals had they known of the risks.
For many, the warnings come too late. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death. This year, an estimated 22,000 will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and about 15,500 will die from the disease.
Source: Cancer Prevention Research