Ms. Serena Houghton, an epidemiology doctoral candidate in the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, was the lead author on a recently published paper in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The article, titled “Perineal powder use and risk of ovarian cancer,” examines whether women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study who had used perineal powders experienced a higher prevalence of ovarian cancer than those who never used them.
According to Ms. Houghton and UMass Amherst co-authors Drs. Susan E. Hankinson, Susan Sturgeon, and Katherine Reeves, along with colleagues from other institutions, there has been speculation since the 1960s that perineal powders like talc are associated with ovarian cancer. In addition, they write, “Case-control studies have reported an increased risk of ovarian cancer among talc users; however, the only cohort study to date found no association except for an increase in serous invasive ovarian cancers.”
In contrast to this past research, Ms. Houghton and her co-authors found no increased risk of any type of ovarian cancer among the 61,576 post-menopausal women in the study that had used perineal powder.