Cervical cancer is not as common as it once was; it is estimated that cervical cancer mortality has been reduced by almost 50% in the last 40 years. This success is due to various factors, including Pap tests, which can find the cancerous cells early when the condition can be cured.

Unfortunately, it has come to light in the past few years that cervical cancer may be caused by regularly using Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and other talcum powder products tainted with traces of asbestos. (Self.com)

Lower Overall Risk, But Cancer Associated With Talcum Powder Rise

While we have seen fewer cases of cervical cancer overall in recent decades, clinical studies also show a higher risk of cervical and ovarian cancer in women who use talcum powder on their genitals regularly. It is believed when a woman dusts her genitals with talcum powder, it can work its way up the female reproductive system and into the cervix and ovaries.

If the talcum powder is contaminated with the human carcinogen asbestos, it is believed over time this can cause cancer to develop in some women. However, researchers also say that talc, which is the silicate element that is used to manufacture talcum powder, has been found in tumors in the cervix and ovaries.

Whether its presence causes cancer without asbestos involved is open to debate. But it has been reported that certain gene mutations have happened in cancer cells in cervical and ovarian tumors that may have been triggered by the talc particles. In one study, the impact happened first in fallopian tube cells, which led later to ovarian cancer. It largely believed that ovarian cancer starts in the fallopian tubes. More study is being conducted on whether talc particle presence can cause cervical cancer.

Cervical Cancer Symptoms

If you are a regular user of baby powder, it is important to be aware of cervical cancer symptoms. First, have a Pap test done each year as well as a pelvic examination to look for cervical cancer in its early stages. Also, getting an HPV vaccine protects you against the common types of human papillomavirus that cause cervical cancer.

Being screened regularly, especially if you use baby powder on your genitals, is important because cervical cancer usually has few symptoms until the latter stages. Common symptoms are:

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding. Can be after intercourse, after menopause, between menstrual cycles, after douching or after a pelvic examination.
  • A menstrual period that is longer or heavier than normal
  • Strange discharge from the vagina, could contain blood and may happen after menopause or between periods.

Talcum Powder Use: A Possible Cause of Cervical Cancer

If you have symptoms of cervical cancer, or your Pap smear is abnormal, your healthcare professional may ask if you use talcum powder regularly on your genitals. There are several clinical studies that suggest a connection between talcum powder and a higher risk of cervical cancer and ovarian cancer. Some physicians downplay the risk, as they think the science is still inconclusive.

But since the early 1970s, clinical research suggests a higher risk of cervical cancer in women who use talcum powder on their vaginas. Talc is a silicate mineral that is frequently found in asbestos deposits. Talc is the primary ingredient in talcum powder, and asbestos a dangerous carcinogen. While there are still questions about a direct link to cervical cancer with talcum powder, it is a stronger argument that talcum powder tainted with asbestos can cause the cancer. (center4research.org)

Cervical and Ovarian Cancer Victims Win in Court

The evidence about asbestos-laced talcum powder causing cancer is strong enough that women who have developed cancer and regularly used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder have filed personal injury lawsuits. Some of them have won large settlements and verdicts.

A vital piece of evidence came out in the case of Jackie Fox, a woman who passed away from ovarian cancer. Her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and won a settlement of $72 million.

The baby powder cancer attorneys for the family had evidence showing Johnson & Johnson executives and scientists knew about lab tests that showed a link between the genital use of baby powder and cancer. An internal memo clearly stated J&J knew about the cancer risk but never issued a warning to the public. This was a big win for the plaintiff; it was proof that women such as Fox did deserve compensation for their cancer damages.

Many More Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuits Followed

More large financial awards have come since for women with cancer after using baby powder for months or years. In one case in Missouri, 22 women filed a class-action talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit against J&J. They were awarded $4.7 billion. It included $4.14 billion in punitive damages for not warning customers of the risks of ovarian and cervical cancer. Not only did these cancer victims win the case in a big way, J&J lost its bid to have the award reverse. The award was upheld by an appeals judge. (NYTimes.com)

Two more talcum powder cancer cases in New York and California, respectively, also resulted in a win for the plaintiffs. In those cases, the women developed mesothelioma after using talcum powder on their genitals for decades. One of the cancer victims was awarded $325 million. The other received damages totaling $12 million.

Summary

The science indicates a strong enough link between regular talcum powder use and various types of cancer – including cervical, ovarian and mesothelioma – that women who use the product for long periods of time should be aware they could at higher risk. The cancer risk is greater the longer the time you use talcum powder. Women should be aware of the higher cancer risk so they can make the safest female hygiene choices.

Even if the science on the talcum powder and cancer connection is not conclusive, it IS strong enough to convince some sympathetic juries that there could be a link. With a skilled talcum powder cancer attorney working for you, it is possible to be well compensated for your medical bills, lost earnings and pain and suffering.

References

Michael Bennett
About the Author

Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett is Editor-in-Chief of Consumer Protect.com. Since 1999, he's worked across a multitude of areas of consumer protection including medical malpractice, personal injury, environmental hazards, and consumer fraud. If you find his articles helpful please share them with your readers.