Publication date: 2018-04-23 06:15
The evidence for a link is weak, but even if talc does increase the risk of ovarian cancer studies suggest it would be by around a third. This is a modest increase in risk and ovarian cancer is a relatively rare disease. Increasing a small risk by a third still gives a small risk.
In the 6975s some hair dye ingredients were found to damage DNA and cause cancer in the lab. But since then, the use of these chemicals has been discontinued and modern dyes are thought to be much safer. Cancer can take many years to develop – so it could be that the link we are seeing now between working as a hairdresser and cancer is because of exposures to these older chemicals many decades ago.
Scientists can avoid these problems by using studies that start with a group of healthy women and follow them up over time, to see if those who use talc go on to develop ovarian cancer in the future. So far, there has only been one of these studies looking at talc and ovarian cancer – and it didn’t find a link with ovarian cancers overall.
There are strict safety regulations in place in the UK and EU for cosmetics and toiletries. Some substances are banned and others are subject to restrictions. For example, they may only be present in limited amounts or may only be used in ‘rinse-off’ products. As well as this, manufacturers must ensure that their products are safe for use before they can be sold.
But the details of this are wrong. Breast cancers start in the breast and only later spread to lymph glands. Your body also has several ways of getting rid of toxins, and while sweating is one of them, it is a different system to the lymph glands.
Watch this past Facebook Live Event from the NIH GIST Clinic. Dr. Fernanda Arnaldez and Dr. Margaret von Mehren discussed the GIST Clinic and its contributions to advancing gastrointestinal stromal tumors research.
The ovarian cancer charity Ovacome have produced an excellent factsheet. They make a really important point that puts any potential risks from talc into perspective:
Talc is used in a medical technique called pleurodesis that can help relieve symptoms of some lung problems. Doctors apply sterile talc directly to the lining of the lungs in this technique. And there is no evidence that this direct application of talc to the body causes cancer.
In fact, breast tumours have large blood supplies and are likely to contain traces of anything that finds its way into our bloodstream. The study didn’t show that these parabens came from using deodorants rather than intake from food or any other source . And besides, most modern deodorants are parabens-free.
But the design of this study was not strong enough to draw that conclusion. For a start, it looked at a very small number of women. And the researchers did not compare levels of aluminium in these women’s breasts to levels in other parts of their bodies, or to levels in women who do not have breast cancer.