A St. Louis Jury recently found that Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products caused ovarian cancer and the death of an Alabama woman. The jury made the corporation pay $72,000,000 to the victims’ family for the loss. This was the first case in U.S. history to have awarded damages after the talc based product had been proven to be linked to ovarian cancer. This woman, who unfortunately passed away last year from her cancer, was one of hundreds of women that are suing the company regarding the dangers in talc and its link to ovarian cancer. These women put their trust into a company that failed to inform consumers about the dangers of their product.
UPDATE: Another St. Louis Jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $55,000,000.00 to a cancer survivor who suffered from ovarian cancer after using talcum powder. Medical testimony from doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston stated that the medical research points to the connection between talcum powder and feminine hygiene.
Talc Based Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Talcum powder comes from the mineral talc and is used in cosmetics and hygiene products such as baby powder. It is used for keeping the skin dry, preventing rashes, and feminine care by its moisture absorption. Talc is the world’s softest mineral made mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. It has been mined from deposits that were interwoven with asbestos fibers which link miners of talc to lung cancer due to the inhalation of asbestos.
In 1973, a federal law required commercial talcum products to be free from all asbestos. Many companies claim their talc based products are free of asbestos, but it is not as heavily regulated as it should be. The FDA completed an extensive testing of cosmetics and talc products years ago saying they did not find asbestos in these products, but only considered it an “informative” study rather than a conclusive study.
Scientists use both lab studies and human studies. Lab studies on animals have shown some tumor formation in subjects after being exposed to asbestos-free talc. Extensive studies have been undertaken on people regarding their previous exposure to talcum powder, the duration of use and frequency of use. Some of these studies have found an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women as the result of the talcum exposure. This has become an incredibly serious issue and many scientists must continue their testing after recent rulings have linked talcum powder to ovarian cancer.
The ovaries are the female reproductive organs located in the pelvis. They are also the main source of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer occurs when tumors grow in or around one or both of a woman’s ovaries. Ovarian cancer is the deadliest and 5th most common cancer for women.
There are several risk factors to consider, but some include:
- Age – This type of cancer mainly develops in older woman. Approximately half of the women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 years or older and usually develop after menopause. It is rare in women younger than 40.
- Race – It is more common for white women to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer than African-American women.
- BRCA1 or BRCA2 Gene Changes – A portion of ovarian cancers are believed to be caused by inherited gene mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes in women with a strong family history of breast cancer.
- Fertility Drugs – Some women who have used fertility drugs have an increased risk of ovarian tumors. There is an even higher risk in women who did not get pregnant while taking the drug and for infertile women.
These risk factors increase the likelihood of developing ovarian cancer, but they do not specifically cause ovarian cancer.
Signs and Symptoms
There are signs and symptoms that may lead to the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, and you should consult with your doctor if you have one or more of these symptoms. However, it does not necessarily mean you have ovarian cancer if you experience any of these common symptoms. The early symptoms, if detected, follow a pattern where they start suddenly, they feel abnormal to your digestive and menstrual functions, and that they happen almost every day and don’t go away. Some symptoms may include:
- Frequent bloating
- Pain in your abdomen or pelvis
- Trouble eating, or feeling full quickly
- Frequent urination or feeling the urgent need to urinate
- Pain with intercourse
- Menstrual cycle changes
Consult with your medical provider immediately if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above.
Diagnosis and Treatment
It is very common for ovarian cancer to avoid detection until it develops into its later stages. Since there are no reliable screening tests for early stages, it is difficult to diagnose early on. There are different methods of imaging and other tests that can be performed to see if tumors are present and growing, but the best way to diagnose ovarian cancer is to perform a biopsy from a removed tumor. For those that are not able to go through surgery, it is possible to get a diagnosis from having a laparoscopy procedure performed where a thin lighted tube with a camera is inserted through an incision on the pelvis or abdomen, or with a guided needle along with imaging to locate a tumor to extract tissue or fluid. In addition, doctors will run blood count tests to monitor your different types of blood cells. Anyone suffering from the symptoms above should consult with your doctor as well as a gynecologic oncologist to obtain the best diagnosis and treatment possible.
Surgery is the best way to detect how widespread the cancer is throughout your body. It is also considered the main treatment option for most ovarian cancers by removing the tumor mass and sometimes reproductive organs, depending on the stage and type of ovarian cancer. Most common with cancers that have spread through the body, chemotherapy is used to treat the entire body rather than specific locations. There are many side effects from chemotherapy that must be considered before treatment, such as increased chance of infection from lack of white blood cells. Other methods of treatment that are used targeted therapy (changing the way a cancer cell works), hormone therapy and radiation therapy.
Hiring a Talcum Powder Lawyer
Those diagnosed with ovarian cancer that have been damaged by talc based powders, as well as the families of those wrongfully killed, may receive reimbursement for their medical expenses, lost wages, lifestyle changes, wrongful death, future medical expenses, and other related damages. Medical expenses are a large part of the compensation in these lawsuits, as the cost of treatment will bankrupt most families. Victims who have had cancer spread throughout their body as a result of using talcum powder may require future surgery, chemotherapy, or numerous other cancer treatments. These procedures are incredibly expensive and can last a lifetime, which takes a toll on victims financially, mentally, and physically. Victims have numerous talcum powder questions and we are here to help.
If you have lost a loved one, or are suffering from ovarian cancer following use of talc based powders, call us today for a free case review. Our firm is dedicated to representing injury victims and has been recognized as Lifetime Members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for our efforts. Call today for a FREE Case Evaluation at 855-55-BAD-DRUG.