Chances are you grew up with the fragrant scent of baby powder perfuming the air. Your mom may have used it to prevent your diaper rash or to sooth herself on a steamy day. The light, fresh scent is used in everything from toilet paper and fabric softeners, to candles and deodorants. But recent studies have shown that talcum powder is a likely contributor to one of the most aggressive and insidious diseases around: ovarian cancer.
Recently, nearly $720 million in court verdicts were paid out to plaintiffs who developed ovarian cancer after long-time use of talcum powder. Although some experts contend that while there is a relationship between talc and the often lethal form of cancer, there is not conclusive evidence of direct cause. However, according to a press release issued from Dr. Roberta Ness, a recognized expert in women’s health research and former Dean of The University of Texas School of Public Health, the threat is real.
“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,” Ness says. “This cause is 100 percent preventable.”
She offers these tips to help protect women from contracting ovarian cancer as a result of genital talc use:
- Don’t Talc Your Lady Parts. Despite what your grandmother and great-grandmother did, talc-based products should never be used for feminine hygiene purposes. Ness says to stop using it immediately.
- Opt for Cornstarch: 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.
- 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, so it’s the perfect time to educate yourself about this silent killer. Go to OvarianCancerAwarness.org for a list of signs and symptoms as well as support groups and other information.