Women who used Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products for feminine hygiene may face an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer, and talc powder lawsuits brought against J&J in recent years accuse the pharmaceutical company of failing to adequately warn women about this risk. If you used a talc-based baby powder or body powder in the past, and you have since been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or another serious medical condition, contact a reputable product liability lawyer today for legal help. You may have grounds to file a talcum powder cancer lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, in order to seek fair and timely reimbursement for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Talcum powder is a soft, white powder used by women for decades to treat diaper rash, to absorb moisture and as a deodorant. The mineral talc, a main ingredient in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and body powder products, is able to absorb odors and moisture and is intended to prevent rashes and keep you dry and smelling fresh, which is why many women use talcum powder for feminine hygiene purposes. The makers of talc-based body powder eventually began to see women as an important target market, and were soon pitching their products as a way for women to stay dry, comfortable and free of vaginal odors. It became routine for many women to dust their groin area, underwear and sanitary napkins with talcum powder, which research now shows may have put them at a significantly greater risk for ovarian cancer.
Talc-based baby and body powders have been a staple in bathrooms and nurseries for generations, but a growing number of women who used talcum powder in the past for feminine hygiene purposes are now being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries and can affect any of the three main kinds of cells that make up the ovaries: the cells that cover the outer surface of the ovary (epithelial tumors), the cells that produce the eggs (germ cell tumors), or the cells that hold the ovary together and produce estrogen and progesterone (stromal tumors).
The most common signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer include the following:
Ovarian cancer often goes undetected until it has metastasized within the pelvis and abdomen, at which point it becomes more difficult to treat. Unfortunately, because of this, while ovarian cancer is not common, the disease causes more deaths than other cancers of the female reproductive system. Early-stage ovarian cancer, in which the cancer is still confined to the ovaries, has a greater chance of being treated successfully, and treatment for the disease typically involves surgery and chemotherapy.
Despite evidence dating back to the 1970s that the application of talc powder to female genitalia can cause serious health problems, talc-based powders have been aggressively marketed by their manufacturing companies over the years as a prevention for vaginal odor in women. According to research, when applied to the groin area of women, talc particles can travel through the vagina and cervix, into the uterus, and along the fallopian tubes to the ovaries, possibly causing ovarian cancer.
Information about the alleged link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer has been around for years. In a study published in 1971, the first study to warn that talcum powder products could be dangerous, British researchers analyzed 13 ovarian tumors and found talc particles “deeply embedded” in ten of the tumors. In another study published in the journal Cancer in 1982, Dr. Daniel Cramer, an epidemiologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, warned that, if used for a prolonged period of time, talc from body powder used for feminine hygiene purposes can get into a woman’s upper genital tract, which can result in ovarian cancer. According to Cramer, “I’ve done several different case control studies of ovarian cancer. All of them have included information on talc, and all of them have found an elevated risk of ovarian cancer associated with talc use.”
Since Cramer’s study was published more than 30 years ago, an additional 20 epidemiological studies have reported that long-term perineal use of talcum powder can increase the risk of ovarian cancer by as much as 33%, while other research has found no link between the two. According to one study published in the journal Cancer Prevention in June 2013, women who dusted their groin area with talcum powder had a 20% to 30% greater risk of developing ovarian cancer, compared to women who did not use talc-based products for feminine hygiene. This research confirmed the results of a previous study published ten years earlier in the journal Anticancer Research, in which researchers analyzed data from 16 separate research papers and reported that the use of talcum powder on female genitalia increased the risk of ovarian cancer by approximately 30%.
When it comes to pursuing financial compensation for ovarian cancer side effects allegedly caused by Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder, having a knowledgeable and compassionate product liability lawyer on your side who has experience handling talc powder cancer cases is incredibly important. Pharmaceutical giants like J&J have a team of lawyers at their beck and call, and without a legal background or guidance from a reputable attorney, your chances of winning a case against Johnson & Johnson is second to none. An experienced product liability lawyer will have access to medical records, expert witnesses and other vital resources that may prove integral to your case, so if you believe you have been harmed by ovarian cancer side effects of talcum powder, contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.
Because talcum powder is considered a cosmetic, it, unlike other potentially dangerous consumer products, doesn’t need to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), per the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Unfortunately, this means that the manufacturers of these allegedly harmful products are not required to include warnings on their labels about the potential for talcum powder to cause ovarian cancer. In March 2014, in the midst of growing concerns about the possible link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, the FDA did decide to update its website to include information about this alleged risk. According to the FDA, “Published scientific literature going back to the 1960s has suggested a possible association between the use of powders containing talc and the incidence of ovarian cancer.” The agency also noted that “these studies have not conclusively demonstrated such a link, or if such a link existed, what risk factors might be involved.”
The first woman to file a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for not warning about the alleged risk of ovarian cancer from talcum powder was Deane Berg, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2007. According to Berg, she turned down a $1.3 million out-of-court settlement from J&J because she wasn’t willing to sign a confidentiality clause. Her case against Johnson & Johnson went to trial in 2013, and a South Dakota jury found the company negligent, but didn’t award Berg any damages. Today, more than 1,000 women are pursuing legal claims against Johnson & Johnson for cancer side effects from talcum powder, and several talcum powder cancer lawsuits have resulted in verdicts for the plaintiff, including one case involving a 62-year-old Alabama woman who died from ovarian cancer after using talc-based body powder. A St. Louis jury awarded Jacqueline Fox’s family $72 million after determining that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder was responsible for her cancer.
All of the talcum powder complaints currently pending in state and federal courts across the country involve similar allegations that Johnson & Johnson covered up the risk of ovarian cancer associated with its talc-based products, putting profits above patient safety. Said Jacqueline Fox’s son when the jury ruled in his family’s favor, “People were using something they thought was perfectly safe. And it isn’t. At least give people the choice. J&J didn’t give people a choice.” Following the Fox verdict, 17,000 people contacted the law firm representing Fox’s family, and product liability lawyers across the country are now investigating thousands of potential claims for women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer allegedly caused by talcum powder products.
Ovarian cancer is among the deadliest cancers in the United States, and approximately 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year, often after the disease has already spread. Unfortunately, more than 14,000 women die from ovarian cancer annually, and among women who used talc-based body powders, the risk of developing ovarian cancer increases from one in 70 to one in 53. If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and you believe Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower-to-Shower body powder to be the cause, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and emotional trauma. Consult an experienced product liability lawyer today to explore your possible compensation options.