Johnson & Johnson is facing thousands of lawsuits from women who were diagnosed with uterine cancer after using baby powder on their genitals or undergoing a hysterectomy with a laparoscopic power morcellator.
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 injured by a morcellator or talcum powder, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Medical Device Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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.”
What 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 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.
Symptoms of Uterine 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
- 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 injured by a morcellator or baby powder, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Medical Device Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.