Manhattan doctors have found a small but “statistically significant” link between talcum powder use in women and ovarian cancer, although they stopped short of declaring that talc can actually cause harm.
The team of doctors from The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital recently reported their findings in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. They found that the risk of ovarian cancer for women who have used talc is about 20 percent higher than for those who did not use it.
J&J Denies Talcum Powder/Ovarian Cancer Link
Johnson & Johnson faces a mountain of lawsuits relating to the connection between its baby powder product and ovarian cancer, but company officials have denied the link. In a video statement released last month, Tara Glasgow, J&J’s vice president of baby research and development products, said the powder does not cause cancer. “We are guided by the science which supports the safety of Johnson’s baby powder,” she said in the video.
Because there is no definitive way to screen for ovarian cancer, most cases are sporadic, or without a definable cause, according to Dr. Paolo Boffetta, associate director for cancer prevention at Tisch Cancer Institute. Also, the disease lacks the clout associated with some other forms of cancer, which raise much more money for research. Because there is no general way to screen for ovarian cancer, taking precautions like avoiding the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene purposes is important.
An estimated 22,440 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed each year, and 14,080 women die annually from the disease, according to statistics from the American Cancer Society. More women die of ovarian cancer than any other reproductive malignancy and it is often diagnosed late in its evolution, typically at stage 3 or 4.