Link Between Talc and Ovarian Cancer?

November 18, 2016
Ovarian Cancer Institute at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

The recent news headlines about multi-million dollar settlements regarding baby powder and its connection to ovarian cancer continues to raise more questions than answers. Mercy gynecologic oncologist Dr. Teresa Diaz-Montes, Associate Director of The Lya Segall Ovarian Cancer Institute, offers her insights…

1. Can baby powder and other talcum based products cause cancer or increase associated cancer risk?

There are mixed reports with regards to the increase risk of talcum base products in ovarian cancer.  Case control studies have shown a slight increase risk in development of ovarian cancer among users of talcum based products.  There studies could be biased as they rely on patient's memory about use of the substance many years earlier.  other prospective studies have not shown any increase risk.  It seems that if there is any risk involved it does not seems to be a very high one.  More research is needed to clarify this potential risk.  

2. What can people do to lower this risk?

To lower any risk the most sensitive thing to do is to avoid the use of any products that contain talc as an ingredient.  Any powder should not be applied directly to the genital area (e.g. in the sanitary pads, tampon, etc).  If the women needs to use any powder to keep the area dry, then should look for alternatives like cornstarch powders.

--Teresa P. Diaz-Montes, M.D.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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