Monday, September 29, 2008
Studies Find Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
The American Cancer Society reports:
It has been suggested that talcum powder may be carcinogenic to the covering layer of the ovaries through the migration of talcum powder particles (applied to the genital area, sanitary napkins, diaphragms, or condoms) through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovary. Several epidemiologic studies have examined the relationship between talcum powder and cancer of the ovary. Findings are mixed, with some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no association....
A meta-analysis which reanalyzed data from 16 studies published prior to 2003 found a 33% increase in ovarian risk among talc users. However, women with the highest exposure were at no greater risk than those with lower exposure, leading the researchers to question whether the association they observed was truly valid.
The most recent study of this subject found an overall 37% increased risk among talc users. It was interesting that the risk from talc use increased by 54% among women who had not had a tubal ligation (had their tubes “tied”) to prevent pregnancy, whereas talc had no impact on women whose tubes had been tied. Because tubal ligation is expected to block external carcinogens from reaching the ovaries via the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes, this finding provides some support for the idea that talc is a carcinogen.