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Talcum Powder Linked to Uterine Cancer

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A new medical study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention has found that talcum powder increased cases of uterine cancer by 24%.
Talcum powder (talc) is a common household cosmetic used to dry off skin after bathing and keep people smelling fresh. It is even used on babies bottoms after diaper changing and is part of the hygiene routine of nearly half of all women in the US.

Talc is made from a magnesium silicate mineral that is similar in its properties to asbestos. Both asbestos and talc form tiny shards and can break off and imbed into parts of the body. If it is inhaled, these tiny particles can imbed into the lungs and cause respiratory difficulties. In animal tests it was shown to cause tumors after the animals had been forced to inhale it.

The latest study looked at the health of 66,028 female nurses between the years of 1982 and 2004 and found 599 cases of endometrial cancer in that time. The women’s personal hygiene routines were studied and it was found that women who had ever used talcum powder on the genital area in their lifetime increased their risk of uterine cancer by 21% compared with women who never used it. Those women who used it at least once a week increased their risk by 24% and the risk increased the more frequently the product was used. This association was particularly strong among post-menopausal women.

The study authors wrote:
‘Several studies have reported a positive association between perineal use of talcum powder among adult women and ovarian cancer risk. Our results suggest that perineal talcum powder use increases the risk of endometrial cancer, particularly among postmenopausal women.’

Talcum powder used on the genital area can travel up the vagina and imbed itself into the pelvis. Another recent research paper found that daily use of talc increased a woman’s chance of ovarian cancer by 41% and an old 1970’s paper found talc particles in 75% of ovarian tumors that they treated.

Some medical professionals have advised women to stop using talc, whereas cancer charities say the link is not proven and if women carry on using talc ‘very few’ will get uterine cancer. Erring on the side of caution would be the more sensible approach, given the nearly 40 year history of studies into talc that show harm.

Sources: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/19/5/1269.abstract

Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting, in addition to running a charity for people damaged by vaccines or medical mistakes.

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I was diagnosed with uterine cancer a few years ago. Thankfully it was caught early, had the hysterectomy and am cured now. I saw an add on TV that talc products can also lead to uterine cancer as well as ovarian.

May 9, 2017 - 12:18pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I had the same experience. Being a lifetime user of baby powder, I was 60 when diagnosed with uterine cancer. I had a complete hysterectomy including ovaries and after 8 years, am still cancer free. I did have 3 rounds of radiation following the surgery. Since I barely put any on, and certainly not internally, I never thought it could travel. All the attorney ads are for ovarian cancer. I contacted one saying I had used talcum powder for many, many years, but had uterine cancer. I never heard back from them.

July 28, 2017 - 10:41pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I was a heavy user of talcum powder and last year had surgery for uterine cancer. I was 69. Was wondering if there was a link and it appears there is, but everyone has jumped on the ovarian cancer bandwagon. Is there anything for us?

December 22, 2017 - 10:59am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I am 63 years old on my 5th recurrence of uterine cancer metastasis to other areas in just 2 years. I'm a lifetime member of the daily J & J baby talcum powder club. I've called numerous attorneys only to cite no interest. Can someone please help me. 215 514 8948

March 18, 2018 - 8:34pm
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