Mounting lawsuits have been filed by thousands of women nationwide over allegations that their ovarian cancer was a result of their genital use of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and Shower-to-Shower powder products.
Ovarian cancer is an aggressive cancer that has a low survival rate and many plaintiffs seek to ensure that the fight over Johnson & Johnson baby powder and Shower-to-Shower powder continues even if they die. Sadly most—nearly 60 percent—of women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are diagnosed at Stage Three in which the five-year survival rate may be as low as 34 percent. Complicating matters, early ovarian cancer symptoms are usually mistaken for abdominal or menstrual discomfort, delaying diagnosis until the cancer reaches a later stage.
The personal injury law firm, Parker Waichman LLP, is investigating allegedly insufficient warnings provided by Johnson & Johnson over its talcum powder and ovarian cancer risks.
What is Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder is derived from talc, which is a soft mineral that consists mostly of silicon, magnesium, and oxygen, a combination also known as hydrated magnesium silicate. In powder form, talc absorbs moisture and odors and minimizes chafing. Talc is commonly used in cosmetic products such as baby powders, body and facial powders, and products used for feminine hygiene purposes. While talc is a natural mineral, talc residues are typically found near asbestos deposits. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and significant caution must be used to avoid contaminating talc with asbestos when mined.
While most commonly sold as baby powder and touted for its use in the prevention of rashes, woman also use Johnson & Johnson baby powder and Shower-to-Shower powder for personal hygiene. In fact, many women sprinkle talcum powder on their inner thighs to prevent chafing or they use it in the genital area or sprinkle it on their underwear or sanitary pads to remain fresh.
Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower Powders and Ovarian Cancer
Concerns over talcum powder ovarian cancer have long been suspected. As far back as 1971, researchers discovered that talc was embedded in 75 percent of all researched ovarian tumors. In June 2013, a study published in Cancer Prevention Research revealed that women who used talcum body powder genitally may face a 20-30 percent increased risk of developing ovarian cancer when compared to women who do not apply these products for intimate hygiene. Meanwhile Johnson & Johnson continued to sell its baby powder and Shower-to-Shower powder as safe products.
A number of studies have also confirmed that when talc is applied to the female genital area, the talc may travel through the vagina and into the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit
In October 2013, a South Dakota jury found that Johnson & Johnson failed to sufficiently warn women about the risk of ovarian cancer from body powder. In this case, a 56-year-old woman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006 after she had used Johnson & Johnson Shower-to-Shower talc powder. Three physicians who examined her cancerous tissue discovered talc in the tissue using an electron microscope. They determined that body powder caused the woman’s cancer. Testimony offered by one expert during that trial said that an estimated 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer may be caused by talcum powder annually.
In February 2016, a jury awarded $72 million in damages to the family of a woman who died due to ovarian cancer. In May 2016, a separate jury awarded $55 million in another talc ovarian cancer lawsuit. That case involved a woman who developed ovarian cancer following decades of using the Johnson & Johnson talc products. In this third lawsuit, allegations included that Johnson & Johnsons talcum powder products may lead to ovarian cancer in women. Also in this case, a 62-year-old woman allegedly used J&J baby powder for feminine hygiene for over 40 years. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013. Allegations included that the woman was given a 20 percent survival rate. She underwent surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, according to Bloomberg.com. To date, the woman has also undergone spleen, ovary, and uterus removal, as well as removal of part of her stomach and colon, according to Law360.
The co-defendant in this case, Imerys Talc America, supplied the talc and was ordered to pay $2.5 million in punitive damages. Following the trial, one juror said, “It seemed like Johnson & Johnson didn’t pay attention,” adding, “It seemed like they didn’t care,” according to Bloomberg.com.
J&J has been accused in approximately 1,700 lawsuits in both state and federal courts for allegedly neglecting studies tying J&J powder baby powder and ovarian cancer and of not advising consumers of these risks, according to Bloomberg.com.
Does Talc Cause Ovarian Cancer?
Plaintiffs in the talcum powder lawsuits currently pending in federal courts similarly allege that their regular and ongoing application of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products to their female genital area may have increased their risks for developing ovarian cancer. While talc particles may travel into the vagina, migrating to the ovaries, according to allegations, the accumulating talc may also cause the type of inflammation that encourages cancer cell growth.
If You Feel You May Be At Risk For Talc Ovarian Cancer
Parker Waichman has been contacted by a number of women who have raised concerns regarding their regular use of talcum powder to their genital areas and the association between baby powder and ovarian cancer. Specifically, these woman are concerned that they may experience increased risks for developing baby powder ovarian cancer and are worried that the powder may make its way to their ovaries, where it may settle and lead to inflammation and, later, cancer. In fact, Parker Waichman has filed many lawsuits on behalf of women who allege that Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products led to serious and life changing adverse health reactions.
For those diagnosed with ovarian cancer following the feminine use of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder or Shower to Shower powder products, there may be valuable legal rights. Please visit Parker Waichman’s Talcum Cancer Injury page today or call the firm’s Talcum Cancer Injury attorneys at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).