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New Study Falsifies the Previously Confirmed Link of Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Recent research has falsified the controversial status of talcum powder to cause ovarian cancer in women. It confirms that these two are not connected to each other in any way. This new research is published in the JAMA journal.

Click here to read the complete study findings. 

The new cohort study investigated 745 women from the U.S. with an average age of 57. The statistical analysis of these study participants concludes that there is no significant association between ovarian cancer and talcum powder.

Over the past five decades, the practice of using the powder has fallen old and out of fashion. The study explained that the use of body talcum powder among women varies. Some apply it directly to the genital area while others use it on their underwear and female hygiene-related products for absorbing moisture and smell.

Talcum powders were banned in 1976 because they contain asbestos that is somehow cariogenic. The risk of containing the asbestos was merely an assumption because talc and asbestos occur together naturally.

The high-profile lawsuits affected by recall bias and authors further explained that they face problems during their investigation due to recall bias such as 5 billion dollars awarded to the women who had claimed that cancer is caused by using the talc products. Recall bias means that the person does not remember the past events accurately e.g. the use of talc powder by women.

According to the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer that there is asbestos in the talc and it is carcinogenic. On the other hand, no talc is present in the inhaled products so, are not classified as carcinogenic for human.

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The organization stated in 2010 that cancer could be caused by talc-based products. Kevin McConway is an emeritus professor at the Open University for applied statistics. He showed no involvement in the IARC research published in the JAMA study.

According to him, the conclusion that talc powder causes ovarian cancer is based on the case-control study. Recall bias is a major drawback that affects the study. He further said the what body felt in the past by using the talc powder is not clear.

According to Dr. Marcela G. del Carmen and Dr. Dana R. Gossett that the study was conducted rigorously, and it would be strengthened through future research. The future research must involve the complete focus on the women having intact reproductive tracts, with proper attention to exposure duration and timing of powder in the genital area.

McConway stated that the association between ovarian cancer and talc powder is uncertain. If this association exists, then it is not clear whether the powder causes an increase in the risk of cancer or not.

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 He further added that if by applying the talc powder or any other powder on the genital area of women raises the cancer risk then that increase in the risk must be small. Being man, he had no concerns about using these products and but if he were a woman he must care about her health and this cancer risk would be at top of list related to worries.

According to Professor lain McNeish who is the director of the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Center at Imperial College London that a highly respected and trained group of researchers conduct the study very well. It is very difficult to prove a causative link between this type of thing and many authors in this regard highlight the difficulties and limitations of their study. However, with great effort, the study was continued and is analyzing the data taken from more than 250,000 women after 11 years follow up. The conclusion of this study was drawn after the complete statistical analysis review that showed no significant link between the use of talc powder and the development of ovarian cancer.


Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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