The Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Talcum powder injury lawyers are bringing injury cases against major manufacturers of talcum powder, because there has been a link established between the use of this power and an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Included in this list is Johnson & Johnson, who has recently decided to discontinue all talcum-based products in the United States and Canada. This link is well established, but it is also critical to talcum powder injury cases.
The link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer is essentially a dose response. What that means is that an individual who uses talcum powder once or twice may not have a statistically significant increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. If she uses talcum powder daily for many years, then the risk that she is going to develop ovarian cancer increases drastically.
There is also a latency period. There are some similarities to asbestos cases here, where an individual could have used talcum powder for 20 years, not be using it today, but be diagnosed with ovarian cancer somewhere down the road.
There are about 20,000 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed every year. Epidemiologists believe that about 10% of these new ovarian cancer cases each year can be linked to the use of talc.
Studies Supporting the Link
There is an epidemiologist at Harvard named Dr. Cramer who has been studying the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer since at least the very early 1980s. There was already a study published in the 1970s that was suggesting a link between talc and ovarian cancer.
Dr. Cramer’s first study was in 1982 and it first showed the increased risk of ovarian cancer from talcum powder use. He has had even more data since that first study. Recent studies show that seven years of consistent talc use leads to double the risk of ovarian cancer, and 20 years of consistent talc use leads to triple the risk of ovarian cancer. That is extremely significant.
One interesting thing about Dr. Cramer and his work in this context is he tried to warn that talcum powder could cause ovarian cancer to the company that produces it, but they never updated the label. They continued marketing it as being safe for women to use as part of their feminine hygiene routine.
A woman using talcum powder periodically for not a substantial amount of time does not lead to much of an increased risk. It is the dose response where the increased risk really comes into play. A woman who has used it for seven years, 10 years, or 20 years, that is when the numbers really jump up as far as likelihood of developing ovarian cancer. Some researchers may argue it is not conclusive based on the low numbers regarding minimal talc use.
Demonstrating the Link in Court
The evidence used to demonstrate the link between talc and ovarian cancer is the pathology slide from any surgeries that were done. They take pathology slides of the cancerous tissue and then review those slides with a microscope and actually see the talc particles, and that is very compelling evidence to a jury.
In addition, the woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, her testimony of what products she used, when she used them, and for how long is very helpful. If she has passed away, then a family member, a spouse, siblings, or children who may have known that the woman used talcum powder, their testimony is very helpful evidence to help establish that link.
Talcum Company Knowledge
Talc is a mineral that is mined from the earth. There are companies that supply the talc mineral to Johnson & Johnson for them to use in their talcum powder product. In the trial in Saint Louis recently, there were some documents presented to the jury that produced evidence that a talc supplier warned Johnson & Johnson about the risks of ovarian cancer way back in 1992. There was some press about this. There was some negative press in the health community about talcum powder potentially causing ovarian cancer and there were internal documents where Johnson & Johnson disregarded the warning and kept talking about what they could do to reestablish sales.
In addition, there were scientists who tried to present their case. Dr. Cramer presented his case to Johnson & Johnson to say talcum powder can cause ovarian cancer and he was concerned about this. Each one of those attempts to warn the company was ignored. Nothing was ever done by the company to warn the consuming public that talcum powder could cause ovarian cancer. It was all about sales and increasing their already tremendous market share of the product. It was a bestselling product for them that they were afraid to lose it.
What to do if Diagnosed
A person who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and used talcum powder for any period of time should contact a lawyer immediately. If that person is in Raleigh, they should speak with a Raleigh attorney.
Working with an attorney from another part of the country works okay sometimes, but oftentimes, clients are really relieved to get to sit down and meet with an attorney face to face and to have an attorney who can come to them, meet with them, and talk about their situation and how devastating the ovarian cancer diagnosis was.
A person who has developed ovarian cancer and used talcum powder should call a Raleigh attorney who is going to meet with them and get started on their case immediately.