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Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Risk

Lately we have heard a lot of information about the use of powder and the risk of ovarian cancer. In the news, we heard that there were women who used powder and had ovarian cancer, filed baby powder cancer lawsuits and had received hundreds of millions of dollars from talcum powder producers.

Talcum powder is made of talc, a mineral that is mainly composed of magnesium, silicon and oxygen. Because it's dust, it absorbs moisture and prevents friction. This makes it useful for keeping skin dry and avoiding rashes. It is widely used in cosmetics such as baby powder.

Before the 1970s, talcum powder contained asbestos, which we know has been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Many studies have overcome it. The first study showed that women who use powder on their genitals at higher risk for ovarian cancer were published in the 1980s. Over the past 30 years, most but not all studies have shown the same results.

The good news is the increased risk associated with using powder. For example, a mother or sister with ovarian cancer increases a woman's risk by 200 to 300 percent, but using powder is only associated with an increased risk of 20 to 30 percent.

Supporters of ovarian cancer patients argue that baby powder manufacturers should give a warning label to the powder bottle. This can help women avoid exposure which can increase the risk of ovarian cancer.