Study: Hair Relaxer & Straightening Products Linked to Uterine Cancer
A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study has revealed a link between the use of hair relaxer products and the prevalence of uterine cancer in women.
According to the wide-ranging survey released earlier this month, women who “frequently” use chemical hair straighteners, also known as relaxers, were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer during the course of the 11-year research project.
Frequent use was defined as applying the products more than four times a year. Other haircare products assessed in the same study found no link to uterine cancer.
As stated in the report, “hazardous chemicals,” including those that are endocrine-interrupting and/or carcinogenic, could be responsible for the link to increased uterine cancer occurrence.
These chemicals could include:
- Bispheonol A
- Formaldehyde, and
Exposure to these substances during haircare “could be more concerning than other personal care products due to increased absorption through the scalp which may be exacerbated by burns and lesions caused by straighteners,” according to the release accompanying the report. The study did not break down the risks caused by the various brands available.
The results are of particular concern for Black women, who use relaxer products at a higher rate than other women. Roughly three-fifths of respondents who said they used chemical relaxers frequently were Black women.
Hair dyes and relaxer products have previously been linked to a higher incidence of other hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Uterine Cancer Statistics, Symptoms, and Treatment
As reported by the Washington Post, while relatively rare, uterine cancer is the most common gynecological cancer in the U.S. In 2019, more than 59,000 new cases of uterine cancer were diagnosed among Americans, and 11,556 women died from it.
Though still relatively rare compared to other cancers, uterine cancer is on the rise in the United States, especially among Black women.
Women who are obese, over 50, have gone through menopause, or have a family history of cancer are at greater risk.
Symptoms of uterine cancer can include vaginal discharge or bleeding and pelvic pain.
A page maintained by Penn Medical cites the following types of uterine cancer:
- Endometrioid adenocarcinoma
- Uterine papillary serous carcinoma
- Uterine clear cell carcinoma
- Uterine carcinosarcoma
- Uterine sarcoma
Treatment of uterine cancer can take various forms, according to the Mayo Clinic, with surgery to remove the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes the most commonly recommended course of action. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy can also be used as treatment, with hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and the use of targeted drugs in use as less commonly prescribed treatments.
Questions About a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit? Contact a Johnson//Becker Lawyer For a Free Case Review.
If you or a loved one developed ovarian or uterine cancer after using chemical hair relaxer products, you may want to speak with the lawyers at Johnson//Becker, PLLC. We are actively filing new product liability lawsuits across the country, and you may be entitled to financial compensation.
We offer a Free Case Evaluation. Please contact us using the form below or by calling us at (800) 279-6386. We would be honored to speak with you and respond promptly to every inquiry we receive.