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Can Talcum Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer? Scientific Research Points to a Link
Many people may think, at first blush, that the idea of talcum powder causing ovarian cancer is ludicrous, but a growing amount of scientific research suggests otherwise. Many researchers have linked a seemingly benign product that people have used for decades to this devastating disease.
A Stronger Link?
According to Dr. Steven Narod of the Women’s College Research Institute in Canada, it has been well known for years that the use of talc can lead to the development of ovarian cancer. He told Canadian publication Global News that the link has grown stronger over time, and that women who use it regularly face a slightly higher risk of the disease.
Dr. Daniel Cramer of Harvard University paints an even scarier picture. He has researched the link between talc-based products and ovarian cancer for more than 30 years, and has written five studies on the subject. He believes that baby and body powders containing talc could be responsible for as many as 10,000 diagnoses of the disease each year in the U.S. alone.
Increasing the Risk
According to Dr. Cramer, the longer that a woman uses talcum powder, the higher her potential risk of developing ovarian cancer. A Missouri jury recently awarded $72 million to the family of Jacqueline Fox, who passed away from the disease on October 15, 2015. Court records indicate that she said she used talcum powder on a nearly daily basis for approximately 35 years. The family sued Johnson & Johnson (the manufacturer of the talc-based products Mrs. Fox used) and the jury found the company liable for negligence, fraud and conspiracy.
What Did Johnson & Johnson Know?
According to court documents, lawyers for the Fox family introduced a September 1997 Johnson & Johnson internal memo into evidence. In it, a company medical consultant is reported to have suggested that anyone denying the link between the hygienic use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer will one day be seen in the same light as those who denied the link between smoking and lung cancer.