No link between the “baby powder” and ovarian cancer, according to a major synthesis of studies

Pas de lien entre la «poudre pour bébé» et cancer des ovaires, selon une grande synthèse d’études

January 7, 2020 13: 20 pm

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No link between the “baby powder” and ovarian cancer, according to a major synthesis of studies

Agence France-Presse

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WASHINGTON – It is sometimes the lack of results that was the most interesting. A synthesis of studies published Tuesday, and on 250 000 women in the United States has not found a statistical link between the use of talc on the genitals and the risk of ovarian cancer.

Four out of ten women in the United States use or have used talcum powder (“baby powder”) to absorb moisture and odors, either by direct application on the genital area, either by putting on an undergarment, a tampon or a diaphragm. This is mostly the older generations that do it, but the practice persists among younger women.

In the 1970s gave rise to a concern about the contamination of talc by asbestos, which is often close in nature of the minerals used in the manufacture of the powder. And then of studies have highlighted a higher risk of ovarian cancer in women using talc, that were suspected to be able to go up to the ovaries via the vagina and the uterus.

But a doubt existed on the reality of this link, because the number of surveys conducted was low in five decades, with results statistically inconclusive.

The effect is difficult to isolate, because the cancers of the ovary are rare: 1.3% of women may suffer in their lives.

Researchers from various research centers in the United States, therefore, have achieved a synthesis of four large cohort studies that followed a quarter of a million women in the United States from 1982 to 2017. These studies question the participants every one or two years on a range of health issues, including the use of talc or powder.

The hope, increasing the size of the sample of participants is to arrive to detect, with a statistical validity of the effect low which, on a population that is more reduced, would not be detectable.

In total, out of these 250,000 women followed for a median duration of 11 years, approximately 2,200 cancers of the ovary have been reported.

The important result is that no statistical difference was observed between women who reported having used the talc, and those who have never done it. Ditto when comparing the frequency or duration of use.

“There is no association of statistical significance between the reported use of talc on the genitals and the risk of ovarian cancer,” write the authors of the analysis published in the journal Jama.

In the United States, Johnson & Johnson is defending itself for years against thousands of complaints against its products talqués, accused of being carcinogenic. For example, it has been condemned in 2018 to pay $ 4.7 billion for 22 women, a verdict challenged on appeal. In October, the company recalled a batch of baby powder after health inspections found traces of asbestos.

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