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Ovarian Cancer Linked to Talcum Powder

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The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2016 in the United States, about 22,280 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Of these, about 14,240 cases will result in death.  Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. This accounts for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Scientists have studied the relationship between ovarian cancer and talcum powder since the 1980’s and have found significant correlation which indicates that genital talcum powder use increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 30%.


Who is at Risk?

Ovarian cancer mainly develops in older women. The risk of developing ovarian cancer gets higher with age. Most ovarian cancers develop after menopause and is rare in women younger than 40. About half the women diagnosed are 63 years or older.  It is more common in white women than African-American women.


Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

• Obesity—obese women (those with a body mass index of at least 30) have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
• Fertility drugs—researchers have found that using fertility drugs may increase the risk for developing ovarian tumors.
• Talcum powder—talc applied directly to the genital area or on sanitary napkins may cause cancer.
• Family history—ovarian cancer risk is increased if your mother, sister, or daughter has also had the disease.
• Breast cancer—a personal history with breast cancer may increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
• Late pregnancy—women who have their first full-term pregnancy after age 35 or who never carried a pregnancy to term have a higher risk of ovarian cancer.
• Estrogen or hormone therapy


What are the Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer is a serious form of genital cancer and is often lethal. It often causes no symptoms until the cancer has advanced. Also, most symptoms can also be caused by other less serious conditions.
According to the CDC these symptoms are typical indicators of ovarian cancer:

  • Enlarged ovary (typically post-menopause)
  • Abnormal or excessive vaginal bleeding.
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Back pain
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Anemia
  • A change in bathroom habits, like frequent urination, frequent constipation or diarrhea.
  • Feeling full very quickly while eating.

The CDC also warns that Pap tests do not screen for ovarian cancer. Because ovarian cancer is often fatal it is especially important to diagnose it quickly. Along with paying attention to the warning signs, like bleeding and pain, you should also consider a specific diagnostic test, such as an ultrasound if you experience symptoms.


Diagnosis and Treatment

Ovarian cancer is a complicated disease with a variety of treatment options which depend on a variety of factors like: age, severity of the cancer, and the patient’s individual medical history. Pelvic exams can detect some reproductive system cancers at an early stage. About 20% of ovarian cancers are found at an early stage. However, most early ovarian tumors are difficult or impossible to feel. The most common categories of treatment are:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Biologic therapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Radiation therapy

Within these broad treatment categories there are a variety of options for the patient. For example, a common surgical treatment is a hysterectomy, which is a procedure to remove the uterus. However, doctors can perform total, partial, total with salpingo-oophorectomy, or radical hysterectomies and remove more organs and tissue depending on the situation. Most often, doctors will recommend a combination of treatments for any given cancer. All cancers, just like all patients, are unique, and if you are worried that you might have ovarian cancer you should speak to a qualified physician immediately.


Legal History of Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Litigation

In 2013 in Berg v. Johnson & Johnson et al a jury found that Johnson & Johnson was negligent; it had failed to warn its consumers about the risks associated with its product which resulted in the plaintiffs increased risk of ovarian cancer. Deane Berg, the plaintiff, was 49 when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and expert testimony proved that her risk for ovarian cancer was elevated as a result of Johnson & Johnson products containing talcum powder. The jury however, awarded no damages to the plaintiff because she was unable to unable to prove strict liability for injury. Berg’s attorney, R. Allen Smith Jr., believes that Berg’s recovery from cancer and small chance of remission was likely a reason that she was not awarded damages. Smith also explained that Berg’s case was the first U.S. suit to argue that asbestos-free talcum powder causes ovarian cancer.

Less than three years later Berg’s case proved instrumental in the verdict of Hogans et al v. Johnson & Johnson et al. Hogans et al, was filed on behalf of the family of Jacqueline Fox, whose premature death in October, 2015, was linked to use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products, including Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. The jury awarded Fox’s family $10M in compensatory damages and $62M in punitive damages against the company, which made it the first talcum-powder case to award damages. The $72M in damages were leveled after Johnson & Johnson was found liable for fraud, conspiracy and negligence.    While Fox’s family was the first to receive financial compensation for Johnson & Johnson’s negligence they will likely not be the last. As of March, 2016 over 1200 cases have been filed against Johnson & Johnson in the U.S on charges of negligence, conspiracy, fraud, and false advertising. If you or your loved one have ovarian cancer and have used a Johnson & Johnson product like Shower to Shower or Baby Powder then you may be entitled to financial compensation.


Legal Representation

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If you or your loved one have been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and have used Talcum Powder for feminine hygiene and have questions about the legal options available, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.

After two hip replacement surgeries, I was informed that one of the prosthesis was the DuPuy Joint and the other was very similar but manufactured by a different company. After several attempts to contact the manufacturer directly to discuss the claim, I was met with bureaucratic red tape that appeared to be insurmountable. I then turned to Joe Lyon of the Lyon Law Firm who immediately cut through the pro I highly recommend Joe if you are faced with the need for this type of litigation.Tim Ross
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