Desperate Housewives actress Marcia Cross just shared on Instagram that one of her closest friends died from ovarian cancer today. And while she didn’t say much, she did point to a possible culprit behind the cancer: baby powder.
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I lost my oldest friend Jackie ( middle) to ovarian cancer today. Please keep up on doctors appts and please DO NOT USE BABY POWDER on your PRIVATES. #ovariancancer #johnsonandjohnsonlawsuit #love #friendship
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“I lost my oldest friend Jackie (middle) to ovarian cancer today. Please keep up on doctors appts and please DO NOT USE BABY POWDER on your PRIVATES.”
While she definitely has a point about not missing annual checkups and follow-ups, the baby powder mention is a little…controversial.
Traditional baby powder—or more factually, talcum powder (a.k.a. talc powder)—contains the mineral talc, and has been under debate for quite some time for its possible link to ovarian cancer. Several studies have shown a small increase in ovarian cancer risk among women who have used talcum powder on their genitals (to fight odors and absorb down-there sweat), but others have shown zero effect on cancer risk, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
The problem, per the ACS, is that many studies can be biased, since they generally rely on a woman’s memory of her powder use years (and sometimes decades) prior. And while the exact reason behind the possible link isn’t totally clear, the belief is that foreign substances can access women’s internal organs via the vagina.
“The theories of talc causing ovarian cancer stem from this, as well as talc being an irritant that the body seeks to expel, causing cellular growth,” Michael Cackovic, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, previously told Women’s Health. “Additionally, talc is structurally similar to asbestos, a known carcinogen, and decades ago talc may have been contaminated with asbestos.”
Given the lawsuits against talc powder in recent years (and all of the talc-free options out there), avoiding the stuff is probably a good idea.
This isn’t the first time Marcia has spoken out about cancer. In September, the actress revealed her own battle with anal cancer on Instagram, sharing a photo of her hair loss from her cancer treatment. (Marcia eventually clarified that she was cancer-free at the time of her post, but still wanted to bring awareness to anal cancer.)
Clearly, Marcia has has a tough few months, and my thoughts are with her and her friend Jackie’s family.
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