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Uterine Cancer Lawsuit

Uterine Cancer Lawsuit

A recent study has found a doubled risk of uterine cancer for women who use chemical hair-straightening products at least 4 times per year.

What You Can Do & How We Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting uterine cancer induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was diagnosed with uterine cancer after using hair relaxers or chemical hair-straightening products, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Disease Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

UPDATE: 1st Lawsuit Filed for Hair Straightener Uterine Cancer

The first uterine cancer lawsuit has been filed by Jenny M., a black woman from Missouri who claims that her use of hair straighteners and relaxers caused her to develop uterine cancer. The lawsuit was filed against L’Oreal and several other beauty companies.

Chemical Hair Straightening Linked to Uterine Cancer

In October 2022, a major nationwide study of nearly 34,000 women estimated that 4% of women would develop uterine cancer if they used chemical hair straighteners at least 4 times per year, which was double the risk for women who didn’t use chemical hair straighteners.

The researchers warned that the study “could be more consequential for black women,” because more than 60% of women who reported using chemical hair straighteners were black.

The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute“Use of Straighteners and Other Hair Products and Incident Uterine Cancer”

What is Chemical Hair Straightening?

Chemical hair straighteners, also called relaxers, are products that hair stylists use to permanently change the texture of a woman’s hair, from curly or wavy to silky-smooth and straight. Some of the most popular products include:

  • Ultra Precise
  • Dark & Lovely
  • Bantu
  • Optimum
  • Motions
  • Just for Me
  • ORS Olive Oil
  • African Pridev
  • TCB Naturals
  • Luster’s
  • Africa’s Best
  • Creme of Nature
  • TCB
  • Mizani Rhelaxer
  • Soft & Beautiful
  • Ultra Sheen Supreme

Side Effects Linked to Hair Relaxers & Straighteners

Chemicals May Cause Cancer or Disrupt Hormones

Chemical hair straightening products contain a variety of toxic chemicals that are known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing), or hormone-disrupting.

Some of these chemicals can actually mimic the effects of estrogen or other hormones, which may explain why previous studies have linked hair straightening chemicals to ovarian cancer and breast cancer.

What Chemicals Are In Hair Straighteners & Relaxers?

The chemical ingredients in hair straighteners vary widely. Some products are less toxic than others. Unfortunately, many products do not list all of the ingredients on the label. This makes it hard for women to choose safer products. It is also a problem for the stylists who are exposed to toxic hair straightening chemicals every day.

Here are some chemicals you might find:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Cyclosiloxanes
  • Benzophenone-3
  • Diethanolamine
  • Triclosan
  • And more

How Do The Chemicals Get Into My Body?

Chemical straighteners and relaxers are riskier than other hair products because they are so irritating to the scalp and skin. Some women even suffer burns or abrasions to their scalp, which could increase the absorption of toxic chemicals into their body.

What is Uterine Cancer?

Uterine cancer occurs when cells start growing uncontrollably in the uterus (also called the “womb”), which is a pear-shaped reproductive organ in a woman’s pelvis. The most common type of uterine cancer is endometrial cancer, which is a cancer that occurs in the inner lining of the uterus.

Signs & Symptoms of Uterine Cancer

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding, spotting, or discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • And more

Can I File a Lawsuit?

Lawsuits have already been filed by thousands of women who developed uterine cancer after using baby powder or talc on their genital areas. In the future, more lawsuits could be filed by women who claim that chemical hair straighteners caused their cancer.

Uterine Cancer and Baby Powder

Baby powder contains talc, an extremely soft mineral with a structure similar to asbestos. Talcum powder has been asbestos-free since the 1970s, but it has still been linked to a 20-30% increased risk of ovarian cancer. Most ovarian cancers start in epithelial cells — very similar to mesothelioma, which involves epithelial cells in the lungs.

Over 2,000 Talc Cancer Lawsuits Filed Nationwide

Johnson & Johnson is facing over 2,000 lawsuits from women who were diagnosed with uterine cancer or ovarian cancer after using Shower-to-Shower (talc body powder) or Johnson’s Baby Powder on their genitals. Lawyers say the company knew about evidence linking talc and cancer since the 1980s, but chose to increase marketing efforts toward black and Hispanic women rather than issue warnings.

Juries Award Over $300 Million for Talc Cancer Lawsuits

In February 2016, a jury in St. Louis awarded $72 million to the family of a woman from Alabama who died of ovarian cancer. In May 2016, another jury in St. Louis awarded $55 million to a woman from South Dakota.

The size of the jury verdicts continues to grow. In October 2016, $70 million was awarded to a woman from California. In May 2017, $110 million was awarded to a woman from Virginia with ovarian cancer.

In a related case, a woman who was diagnosed with mesothelioma after using the talc-based body powder Cashmere Bouquet was awarded $13 million in May 2015.

Uterine Cancer and Morcellators

An estimated 600,000 women have a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus) in the United States every year. Thousands of these hysterectomies are elective procedures to treat uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous growths on the uterus. Today, most hysterectomies are performed with minimally-invasive tools, such as laparoscopic power morcellators and/or surgical robots.

The Problem With Morcellators

Morcellators are designed to grind up fibroids into smaller pieces. Unfortunately, some fibroids are actually undiagnosed cancer. When a morcellator grinds up the tissue, it can leave behind malignant cells. This can spread highly-aggressive uterine cancer throughout a woman’s pelvis and abdomen, greatly worsening her long-term prognosis.

FDA Warning: Morcellators May Spread Cancer

The FDA has recommended against the use of laparoscopic power morcellators during hysterectomies due to the risk of uterine cancer. According to the agency’s Safety Communication published in April 2014:

“The FDA has determined that approximately 1 in 350 women who are undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy for fibroids have an unsuspected type of uterine cancer called uterine sarcoma. If laparoscopic power morcellation is performed in these women, there is a risk that the procedure will spread the cancerous tissue within the abdomen and pelvis, significantly worsening the patient’s likelihood of long-term survival.”

How Common is Uterine Cancer?

Uterine cancer occurs when cells in a woman’s uterus (womb) begin dividing and growing uncontrollably. The resulting mass of cells is called a tumor. Most cases of uterine cancer are endometrial cancer, which is a tumor that grows in the lining of the uterus. An estimated 45,000 women are diagnosed with uterine cancer every year, and it causes 8,400 deaths.

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that grow on the uterus. They are not usually life-threatening, but can cause pain, bloating, prolonged menstruation, and other health problems. The lifetime risk of fibroids is at leas 70%. They are one of the most common reasons why women undergo hysterectomies.

Is it a Fibroid or Cancer?

The problem is that a small percentage of fibroids are actually uterine sarcoma, a malignant type of uterine cancer that includes leiomyosarcoma (LMS), a highly-aggressive cancer. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell whether a fibroid is actually uterine sarcoma until after the hysterectomy.

Other Signs of Gynecological Cancer

Uterine cancer symptoms typically include vaginal bleeding, discharge, and pelvic pain. Other symptoms of gynecological cancer may include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Abdominal or back pain
  • Bloating
  • Changes in bathroom habits
  • Itching or burning of the vulva
  • Changes in vulva color or skin (rash, sores, or warts)

Do I have a Uterine Cancer Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting uterine cancer induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was diagnosed with uterine cancer after using hair relaxers or chemical hair-straightening products, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Disease Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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