Approximately 21,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, making it the fifth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. Still, it is a largely silent epidemic, one where women too often dismiss the symptoms, allowing the disease to go undetected until it is too late.
While many ovarian cancer cases are related to genetics, four decades of prospective and retrospective scientific studies involving thousands of women have shown a link between genital talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. In addition, laboratory-based human cellular studies show that the introduction of talcum powder to ovarian tissue produces inflammatory responses associated with cancer.
Following nearly $720 million in court verdicts, Dr. Roberta Ness, a recognized expert in women’s health research and former Dean of The University of Texas School of Public Health, advocates that “It is time for doctors and women to realize that more than 40 years of scientific research doesn’t lie: there is a link between genital talc use and ovarian cancer. This cause is 100 percent preventable.”
Dr. Ness is sharing the following recommendations to help protect women from contracting ovarian cancer as a result of genital talc use:
• Look at Labels: It is important to look at the ingredient labels for all body powder products you use on your body. While some body powder products are beginning to include ovarian cancer warning labels on talc products, not all do. If you see talc listed as an ingredient, find an alternative that uses cornstarch.
• Product Use: Despite decades of both broad-based and demographically targeted marketing campaigns by large companies, talc-based products should never be used for feminine hygiene purposes. If this talc use is part of your daily routine, stop using it immediately.
• Consult Your Doctor: Annual Pap tests do not check for ovarian cancer. If you have ever used talc for feminine hygiene, it is important to consult with your gynecologist about proper monitoring and testing.
• Observe Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month: September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and women should take time to learn more about this disease. Being aware of the symptoms such as bloating, pelvic pain, and feeling full quickly when eating can help raise red flags in early stages, and increase chances for survival with proper medical treatment.
If you or a loved one currently suffer from or have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Dr. Ness recommends connecting with trusted resource and support groups such as the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Dr. Ness says that “If you have to battle ovarian cancer, it is best to go through that battle with a community of other strong women.”
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