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What is ovarian cancer and why is it linked to talc?

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified talc as “probably carcinogenic” for humans, citing studies which consistently showed an increase in the rate of ovarian cancer in women who used talc on their genitals. Here’s what we know about the linked between talc and ovarian cancer.

What is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the ovaries. When cancerous cells develop, they can grow quickly and destroy healthy body tissue, eventually forming a tumour.

There are several different types of ovarian cancer. The most common type is epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), but there are several much rarer types which include sex cord-stromal tumours and germ cell tumours. The type of ovarian cancer you’re diagnosed with depends upon the type of cells the cancer develops in.

Statistics reported by Cancer Research UK state that there are approximately 7,500 cases of ovarian cancer reported in the UK each year. This accounts for 4% of all new reported cases of cancer in females, which makes it the 6th most common type of cancer.

Why is talc linked to ovarian cancer?

Talc is mined from rock deposits before it’s crushed into a fine powder. Asbestos is also a natural mineral that often forms close to talc. It’s made up of fibres which can be extremely dangerous.

When talc is mined, there’s a significant risk of cross-contamination, given its close proximity to asbestos. This means there’s a high probability that asbestos fibres have been present in talcum powder products.

It’s well known that talcum powder is used to absorb moisture and reduce friction, so it’s often used in the genital area. When tiny asbestos fibres enter the reproductive tract, it can trigger inflammation which may cause cells to change genetically. When this happens, and these cells multiply, it can lead to ovarian cancer.

As a result, this has put a significant number of consumers at risk and unfortunately, many may already have lost their lives as a result.

Is ovarian cancer fatal?

Tragically, there are approximately 4,100 deaths from ovarian cancer in the UK each year. According to Cancer Research UK, 45% of those are females aged over 75. On a slightly more positive note, the survival rate has almost doubled in the UK in the last 50 years. This is no doubt a result of improved treatments and increased awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, which results in early diagnosis.

As with most cancers, the quicker you’re diagnosed, the better the survival rate. There are 4 stages of cancer that describe the size of the tumour and how far it’s spread. If a diagnosis and treatment are received for ovarian cancer when it’s at stage 1, the survival rate is much higher.

Generally, it’s fairly common for women to sometimes feel bloated, have a tender stomach, have a tender pelvic area, lose their appetite, feel tired, or urinate more often. However, if any of these symptoms occur regularly, approximately 12 times or more a month, they could be symptoms of ovarian cancer.  

There are also more extreme symptoms of ovarian cancer, such as indigestion, constipation or diarrhoea, weight loss, extreme tiredness, and vaginal bleeding. 

If you suffer any of these symptoms, you should visit your GP without delay. 

What causes ovarian cancer?

There’s sometimes no obvious cause of ovarian cancer. However, there can be underlying factors that may be the cause or may have contributed to its development.  

Genetics

If family members have at some point in their lives had ovarian cancer, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re likely to develop it. However, a family history of ovarian cancer is said to increase the risk. 

Medical conditions

It’s thought that certain medical conditions such as endometriosis and diabetes can increase the risk of ovarian cancer. There are also genetic conditions that can increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer. These include Lynch syndrome and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. Some medications may also increase the risks.

Health conditions

In addition to medical conditions, your health is also a factor. There may be an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer if you’re overweight or a smoker. If you want to improve your health condition, the NHS offers a range of helpful advice, information, and tools. If you’d like to lose weight, you can visit the NHS Better Health Service. If you’d like to quit smoking, you can visit the NHS Stop Smoking Service.  

Asbestos

Asbestos is a natural mineral that is made up of microscopic fibres. These fibres are extremely harmful to health when inhaled or when they enter the reproductive tract. They’re known to cause, or increase the risk of, certain cancers, such as mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.

Join our talcum powder claim

Some manufacturers failed to ensure that the talcum powder on sale in the UK was free from asbestos. Additionally, they failed to tell UK consumers about these risks.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer or peritoneal cancer, and have used talcum powder products over a period of time, you have the right to seek justice and compensation.

Many law firms avoid pharmaceutical cases as they can be complex and need a vast amount of expertise. We have that expertise. We have extensive experience in successfully representing, and achieving justice for, consumers in group claims against large corporations. Our lawyers have secured millions of pounds in compensation for consumers who’ve been wronged.

We’re offering clients who join the talcum powder claim the opportunity to pursue justice under a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement. This means if the case is unsuccessful, we won’t charge you any fees.

‘They knew. They lied. We paid the price’
 
People diagnosed with life-changing and life-limiting cancers have spoken of their ‘betrayal’ at the hands of the talcum powder manufacturers.By bringing together affected individuals in a group action claim we aim to hold the talc manufacturers responsible for the harm caused by their products.
 
If you or a loved one has experienced health issues due to extensive talcum powder use, take the first step towards seeking justice today. We are running this case on a no-win, no-fee basis. This means if the case is unsuccessful, we won’t charge you any fees.
In February 2024, our firm changed its name from Keller Postman UK to KP Law.

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