If you love your hair straight, there is some bad news. Chemicals used to make hair straighteners have been linked to an increased chance of uterine cancer.
A cancer diagnosis is among the most devastating experiences a person can go through, which makes even the thought of a diagnosis significantly devastating. But don’t worry too much, though, as using relaxers doesn’t mean you will get cancer.
This guide offers insight into this finding and what to do if you are diagnosed with hair straightener-related cancer.
What the Study Is All About
On October 17, 2022, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) published findings from the Sister Study, which found a significant link between hair relaxers and straighteners and an increased risk of uterine cancer.
In the study, the researchers followed over 33,000 women for almost 11 years as part of an ongoing study to examine the connection between hair products and breast cancer and other diseases. The data collected in the study painted a definitive link between hair straighteners and uterine cancer.
What the Study Revealed
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 61,000 women are diagnosed with uterine cancer in America yearly. Of these, 11,000 lose the battle to it.
Normally 1.6 % of women that have never used hair straightening products develop uterine cancer by their 70th birthday. But according to the study, women that have extended use of hair straightening products have a 4.05% risk of developing cancer.
Women of African descent are at greater risk of uterine cancer resulting from extended use of hair straightening products because their hair type is not easy to work with when creating hairstyles that require straightening. According to data from the study, 60 of all the women that use hair straightening and relaxing products are black women.
Chemicals Responsible For Causing This Type of Cancer
The study’s authors did not mention any brands responsible for causing cancer. Also, there isn’t definitive proof of the chemicals responsible for causing cancer, but researchers are looking at some chemicals used in the products as possible culprits. These chemicals include parabens, metals, bisphenol A, and formaldehyde.
The researchers also pointed out that the study doesn’t prove that using hair straighteners causes cancer but that they increase the risk of getting it. Also, the data did not show a link between uterine cancer and other hair products.
Understanding Uterine Cancer
Even though uterine cancer affects thousands of women annually, it is often present in two main variants; endometrial at a 90% prevalence rate and uterine sarcoma at 10%. Both variants are associated with extended periods of high estrogen levels over a lifetime.
Also, they are common in women with early menstruation and late menopause and those with few or no pregnancies.
Some experts believe the chemicals used to make the products get their way into the body through the scalp tampering with the body’s hormonal balance mechanisms. Eventually, they create the right conditions for cancer development.
You Could Have a Defective Product Case
Product manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that the products they put into the market do not cause harm to their customers. Also, they must notify their customers of the potential dangers of using the products they produce. If a manufacturer is negligent in ensuring customer safety, they will be liable for damages suffered by their customers.
If you have suffered uterine cancer due to extended use of hair straightening products, you can consider filing a uterine cancer lawsuit to recover economic and non-economic damages. Cancer treatment can be costly, so recovering damages can help you get back your life close to normal financially and psychologically.
Signs of Uterine Cancer to Look Out For
Symptoms of uterine cancer can vary widely based on the variant. However, in most cases, they will include virginal bleeding between periods, bleeding after menopause, lumps in the lower abdomen or pelvic area, abnormal (smelly) virginal discharge, and unexplained weight loss.
If you have these symptoms or a combination of two or more, it’s best to talk to an oncologist as soon as possible.