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The Link Between Ovarian Cancer and Asbestos

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on October 28, 2021

The connection between asbestos and mesothelioma, a serious type of cancer, is well-established. In recent years, however, a possible connection between asbestos and another type of cancer has arisen: ovarian cancer. Evidence has been found that supports the belief that asbestos exposure could play a role in the development of ovarian cancer, particularly in women who use talcum powder products for feminine hygiene purposes. Here’s what you need to know about this developing link.

Asbestos and Talcum Powder

Asbestos is a type of mineral. It often shares a mine with another mineral, talc. For this reason, talc can sometimes contain traces of asbestos. While regular talc is safe, if the talc is contaminated with asbestos and makes its way into consumer products, such as talcum powder (baby powder) or cosmetics, it can put users at risk of dangerous asbestos exposure. This can lead to the development of several types of cancers.

Research Connecting Asbestos to Ovarian Cancer

Many well-known products used by women may contain talc that is contaminated with asbestos. These products include baby powder, condoms, sanitary napkins and diaphragms. The biggest manufacturer that is facing lawsuits for talcum powder and asbestos is Johnson & Johnson. If powder particles with asbestos fibers travel through the vagina to the ovaries, it has been suggested that this can cause ovarian cancer. Although this link has yet to be confirmed, several studies have reported an evident connection.

A meta-analysis by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2011 found that among workers who were highly exposed to asbestos, occupational exposure was more strongly associated with ovarian cancer than lung cancer. This report concluded that exposure to asbestos is “causally associated” with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The IARC has since conducted other such studies and held that asbestos has a “clearly established causal association” with ovarian cancer.

More recently, in 2020, a study of ovarian cancer and exposure to asbestos through cosmetic talc powders was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. This study found traces of asbestos in the tissue samples of 8 out of 10 test subjects who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It concluded that asbestos fibers in cosmetic talc can cause ovarian cancer through inhalation that occurs during use.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

If you have used talc-based cosmetic products, such as powder foundations, blush, bronzer or baby powder, you may be at risk of developing asbestos-related cancers, including ovarian cancer. Asbestos has also been linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma, peritoneal cancer, asbestosis and other serious diseases. Cancer connected to asbestos can develop years or even decades after the date of exposure. Common symptoms associated with ovarian cancer include:

  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly
  • The need to urinate frequently
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain

Ovarian cancer can be treated with options such as surgery and chemotherapy. A patient’s prognosis will depend on the specific case and the stage of cancer when discovered. If you experience any possible symptoms of ovarian cancer, see a doctor right away. If you have a history of using talc-based products for feminine hygiene or in your cosmetic regimen, tell your doctor.

The Legal Rights of Impacted Women

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and you believe it is related to your use of talcum powder or other products containing talc, contact an attorney right away for a consultation about your legal rights. A New York asbestos attorney who focuses on cases involving asbestos and mesothelioma can help you determine if your case has merit. If so, the attorney can represent you during a lawsuit against the manufacturer.

Although no amount of money can reverse the pain, suffering and experience of living with ovarian cancer, pursuing a lawsuit can hold manufacturers accountable and help your family move forward. Learn more about pursuing an asbestos lawsuit for ovarian cancer by contacting The Williams Law Firm, P.C. today.

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