Journal Of The National Cancer Institute Talcum Study
A 24-year study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds both small and insignificant correlations between talcum use and ovarian cancer.
Monday, October 5, 2015 - A study conducted by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looking into the link between ovarian cancer and the regular genital use of talcum powder by women was published in a 2000 issue of the journal. The study concluded that while no hard evidence of a link between perineal use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer existed, talc contributing to the risk of a woman contracting ovarian cancer was left as a possibility in the study's conclusion.
The data for the study was taken from more than 120,000 nurses included in the Nurses' Health Study that were enrolled in 1976. The study focused on the nurses health and potential risk factors for developing cancer. Questionnaires were sent to the women every two years to gather updates on possible diseases contracted by the participants, which were compared to the lifestyle choices the women made. The questionnaires were sent and returned over the course of 24 years, and the nurses' use of talc was ascertained throughout the study.
Over the course of the study, 307 women who claimed to have used talcum powder contracted ovarian cancer. Despite the hundreds of women who did develop ovarian cancer, the results showed that there was not a definitive correlation between talcum use and an increased risk in contracting ovarian cancer. There were some models used with the data however that did indicate that an increased risk may have been present. When the data was presented with a histologic subtype, the risk for certain serous cancers displayed a mild increase.
The study concluded by stating that although there did not seem to be any definitive link discovered between talcum powder and the contraction or increased risk of ovarian cancer, there were some data models that indicated modest positive associations and other studies that did find positive associations were referenced. The study was sanctioned by the Human Research Committee at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.
The talcum powder lawsuits currently filed nationwide are claiming that the use of talcum powder can lead to an increase in the risk of ovarian cancer, as demonstrated in a number of talcum research studies presented by plaintiffs' attorneys. The allegations claim that talcum manufacturer Johnson & Johnson failed to warn customers of the potential link between their talcum products and the increased risk in contracting ovarian cancer, and that the company knew of the research being done relating to the association between the product and ovarian cancer and continued to market their product without informing customers of the possible risks.
There are more than 700 lawsuits filed across the country against Johnson & Johnson, including more than 100 in New Jersey that were recently consolidated into multicounty litigation. Dozens have also been filed in Missouri state court in St. Louis, which is progressing towards its first pretrial actions after a successful status conference hearing in July. Johnson & Johnson has maintained that no link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer exist, while plaintiffs continue to amass studies that argue the opposite. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute is one of dozens of studies that will be presented and argued upon as the lawsuits progress over the coming weeks and months.