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Talcum powder and cancer in women

A study by Karageorgi et al, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found that that perineal talcum powder use increases the risk of endometrial cancer, particularly among postmenopausal women.

A meta-analysis by Terry et al, published in Cancer Prevention Research, found that genital powder use was associated with a modest increased risk of epithelial ovarian cancer, relative to women who never used powder. Risk was elevated for invasive serous and clear cell  tumors, and for borderline serous tumors.

We noted no increase in risk among women who only reported non-genital powder use. In summary, genital powder use is a modifiable exposure associated with small-to-moderate increases in risk of most histologic subtypes of epithelial ovarian cancer.

A study by Gordon et al, published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, found that a specific brand of talcum powder contained identifiable asbestos fibers with the potential to be released into the air and inhaled during normal personal talcum powder application.  The researchers also found that asbestos fibers consistent with those found in the same cosmetic talc product were present in the lungs and lymph node tissues of a woman who used this brand of talc powder and developed and died from mesothelioma.