Harvard Study Finds Postmenopausal Link Between Talcum and Cancer
The 2010 talcum powder research looked into possible connections between routine genital use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer, finding a 21 percent increase in risk for ovarian cancer for postmenopausal women who used the product regularly.
Monday, November 16, 2015 - A 2010 talcum powder investigation supported in part by Harvard found that there existed a connection between talcum powder and an increased risk in the contraction of cancer, especially among postmenopausal women. The study was published in the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention in April of 2010 and has been a large piece of the lawsuits attorneys have filed against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of plaintiffs who claims they contracted ovarian cancer as a result of using the talcum powder products manufactured by the defendants.
The study built upon the ideas already built around the connection between ovarian cancer and talcum powder and continued to look into other cancers talc may be connected to. Over 65,000 women were included in the study, nearly 60 of which had contracted cancer and been regular users of talcum powder between 1982 and 2004. The study looked specifically at the increase in the risk of women contracting endometrial cancer, which affects the lining of the uterus. The findings suggested that despite no correlations being found in the overall data set, the findings for the women who had used talcum powder regularly revealed that more than a 20 percent increase in the risk of contracting cancer was present.
This increased risk was directly associated with postmenopausal women, and the risk escalated with the increased use of talcum powder by the women. Though the study looked at cancer of the uterus for its results, the mechanism by which the cancer develops in relation to talcum powder is similar. Both uterine and ovarian cancers caused by talcum powder allegedly involved the talc from the product traveling up a woman's vaginal tract and becoming embedded inside a woman's reproductive system. The finding of an increased risk for endometrial cancer is an important step in the research being done on ovarian cancer. The study suggested in its conclusion that talcum powder did increase the risk of cancer overall and that more research needed to be performed to investigate the connection further.
The talcum powder lawsuits filed by attorneys across the nation representing women who have allegedly contracted ovarian cancer as a result of regular talcum use have reached into the hundreds nationwide. Plaintiffs claim that Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn consumers of the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, and that they were privy to information detailing the link but intentionally chose to continue to market the drugs without informing consumers of the connection. The plaintiffs are seeking damages for both their injuries suffered from the Johnson & Johnson products, and for repayment for a product they claim they would not have purchased if proper warnings would have been issued.
More than 100 talcum lawsuits are currently pending in St. Lous and New Jersey alone. The litigation has passed into the pretrial phase in the St. Louis courts, while the New Jersey lawsuits are moving toward multicounty litigation to settle claims filed in the state where Johnson & Johnson is headquartered. Johnson & Johnson have denied all allegations regarding their talcum powder products and ovarian cancer.