How Is Ovarian Cancer Caused by Talc Powder?

The link between talc powder and ovarian cancer has been around since the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the late 90s and early 2000s that the risk was better understood.  Talc is a naturally occurring mineral compound that consists of silicone and magnesium.  It is mined, dried, and crushed to produce a low friction powder that’s useful in a number of consumer products.  In its natural form, studies have shown that some talc may contain asbestos which is known to cause cancer.   Studies in humans suggest that women who have used talcum powder in the genital area may get ovarian cancer. Talc is prevalent in various feminine hygiene products, where they are primarily used to reduce moisture and soothe irritated skin.  However, if this mineral enters the body, some studies have shown a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, which can cause major health problems that may go undetected for many years.


Talc can provoke a harmful inflammatory response if it enters the body.  When used in certain feminine hygiene products, it can inadvertently enter the body through the vaginal canal, eventually depositing in the ovaries.  From here, the body will respond to a perceived invader by creating inflammation.  While this is normally useful in healing and repelling disease, it also provides an optimal environment for tumor growth.  Because talc is poorly soluble, it can remain in the body for quite some time, preventing the body from switching off the inflammation response.

Unfortunately, tumor growth can go undetected for a long time, and once a doctor does catch it, it may be too late to recover fully.  Also, women who use talc powder typically do so regularly, applying it on a daily basis.  This can speed up the growth of tumors.


The first study concerning the risks of talc powder was completed in 1971.  It established a link between the mineral and its dangers, and The Lancet published an article detailing its possible effects.  Research continued into the 1990s, with the first major study being published in The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  The study found a threefold increase of risk for women using baby powder that contains talc.

In 1997, a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology also confirmed the link, finding that dusting the perineum with talc encouraged tumor growth.  It also linked the use of talc-containing deodorant sprays to tumor growth as well.

In 2003, a large-scale meta-analysis of 16 studies combed through the available data and once again found a reason for concern.  The analysis followed 12,000 women and determined a 33 percent increase of risk for women using talc powder.

In 2008, Dr. Margaret Gates, a Harvard epidemiologist, stated that the daily use of products like Johnson & Johnson Shower to Shower increased the risk of certain tumors by more than 40 percent.  Dr. Gates later published a study in 2010 confirming that talc found in baby powder is a known carcinogen in humans.

Baby Powder and Uterine Cancer

Any woman who has used products like Johnson & Johnson Shower to Shower and its baby powder should consult with their doctor about possible tumor growth.  Women who have been diagnosed after using Johnson & Johnson products may be able to attain compensation for their suffering after consulting with a personal injury lawyer.  Many women have already filed successful lawsuits after being injured by talc.  Any woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talc powder should consider calling Terry Bryant to discuss their options.