The Doctors: Talcum Powder Risks
The Doctors discussed talcum powder, explaining that recent studies have found that using cosmetic talc can increase your risk of ovarian cancer, particularly when used near the genitals. So should you take a second look at the products you’re using for feminine hygiene?
A woman named Deane joined the show. She won the first major lawsuit over talcum powder. In her case, the jury ruled that the manufacturer of the powder failed to warn women about the potential risks of applying to the genital area. Deane’s cancer is now in remission. Deane said when she was first diagnosed, she couldn’t figure out why it occurred because she had no family history of it, she didn’t smoke, and she was even tested for the gene and it was negative. She kept doing research while she was getting chemotherapy, and found articles linking talcum powder to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
The Drs TV: Does Talc Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer?
She said she’s used talcum powder since she was about 18 years old, because her mother said it was safe and a good product for feminine hygiene. She used it to prevent chafing on a hot day. Dr Jennifer Ashton said they’ve known for a while in the OB/GYN field about the possibility of an association between the ingredients in some types of baby powders and ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer because it causes a chemical reaction.
Dr Drew Ordon explained that it also can cause a “foreign body reaction,” but typically that happens when it gets put into tissue or under the skin. Dr Ashton said many people, Deane included, look for an explanation for their cancer, but said one in 70 women will get ovarian cancer. She said some studies have shown a 30% possible risk increase in women who use powder in the genital area, which brings the risk to one in 55, but there are a lot of factors. She said when it comes to cancer, you usually can’t pinpoint it to one certain cause.
Dr Rachael Ross said 40% of women are using some form of talc powder down there, so as women we all need to step back and understand the possible risks. Using talc powder on your feet is fine, but that area may be too risky. Dr Ashton said to find an alternative, first ask yourself why you’re using talcum powder in the first place. Then try to target those areas in another way. The International Agency for Research on Cancer’s official word on talc powder is genital use of talc is “possibly carcinogenic.”