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New Lawsuit Ties Perineal Use of Talcum Powder to Uterine Cancer

talcumIn the midst of thousands of lawsuits linking talcum powder use to ovarian cancer, another cancer scare has arisen in some of the more recent complaints filed. In one particular lawsuit filed in July, a plaintiff alleges regular use of talcum powder in the perineal region led to her diagnosis of uterine cancer. The plaintiff also cites studies that have shown a potentially dangerous association between the two.

Delores Gould filed her complaint in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco on July 8. Gould claims she used Johnson & Johnson’s products Shower to Shower and Baby Powder nearly her entire life for hygiene purposes. In 2006, shortly after turning 30, the plaintiff was diagnosed with uterine cancer. In 2007, the plaintiff underwent surgery to remove her uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes as part of her cancer treatment.

While Gould’s cancer has been in remission since 2007, she has lost the ability to have biological children and has suffered “mental pain and suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience and the loss of enjoyment and impairment in the quality of life,” according to her complaint. She adds that if she had known of the risks associated with the Johnson & Johnson products, she never would have used them in the perineal area. However, the products have never included a label suggesting there were health risks linked to them.

Studies linking talc and cancer cited

Gould lists numerous studies in her complaint that show the connection between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer, as well as a few studies indicating talc use could also increase the risk for uterine cancers. Ovarian cancer studies date back as far as 1971, when Dr. W.J. Henderson and colleagues in Wales found an association between the two. In 1982, the first epidemiological study performed found that women that used talc in the perineal region regularly increased their risk of ovarian cancer by as much as 92 percent.

Since that research, approximately 22 additional studies have shown an elevated risk of ovarian cancer through regular application of talcum powder. Gould also cites research, including a 2010 analysis that involved more than 66,000 women, which shows use of talcum powder may also significantly increase a woman’s risk for endometrial or uterine cancer.

Despite the many findings, Gould asserts in her complaint that Johnson & Johnson have failed to share any type of warning with the women that use their talc-based products regularly. In fact, Gould states that the company has gone so far as to take steps to “prevent regulation of talc and to create confusion to the consuming public about the true hazards of talc relative to cancer.”

Talc litigation continues to grow

Gould joins a long list of women that have filed lawsuits against the pharmaceutical giant after their diagnoses of cancer. Currently, thousands of lawsuits are pending in courts across the country with similar allegations. Two of those lawsuits have already gone to trial, resulting in favorable rulings for the plaintiffs. In the first verdict, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $72 million to the family of a woman that died of her ovarian cancer. The second verdict resulted in a $55 million award after undergoing a hysterectomy and additional cancer treatment to fight her ovarian cancer. Currently, that plaintiff’s cancer is in remission.

Gould has listed a number of counts against Johnson & Johnson, including failure to warn, negligence, fraudulent concealment and false advertising. She is seeking punitive, exemplary and compensatory damages in an amount to exceed $75,000.

  1. Empower Her, Talcum Powder Linked to Uterine Cancer,

  2. CNN, Talcum Powder’s Link to Ovarian Cancer: What it Really Means,

  3. The Scientist, Can Talk Cause Cancer,

  4. Medical Daily, Johnson & Johnson Pays $55 Million in Second Lawsuit Claiming Talcum Powder Products Cause Ovarian Cancer,

  5. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, Perineal Use of Talcum Powder and Endometrial Cancer Risk,

  6. University of New Mexico, Two Behaviors may Affect the Risk of Endometrial Cancer,