Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer: What’s the Link?

Talcum powder and ovarian cancer — is there really a link?

David Cohn, MD, of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, explains what talc has to do with ovarian cancer — and what women need to know to help reduce their risk for the disease.

“So the link between talc and ovarian cancer has been known for some time. And in fact, there seems to be at least a weak association between a woman's exposure to talc, typically in the form of baby powder, and an increased risk for ovarian cancer,” Dr. Cohn said. “Overall, it seems that the risk of ovarian cancer as a result of talcum powder is very low."

Though the link between talc and ovarian cancer is weak, avoiding talc might be worthwhile in prevention, Dr. Cohn said.

“Typically baby powders today have cornstarch rather than talcum powder,” he added, “so in essence, they probably are already doing the things that they can to avoid that potential small increased risk.”

For more information, including symptoms of ovarian cancer, watch the segment above.