Are Users of Chemical Hair Straighteners at Risk of Uterine Cancer?2022-10-31T11:15:46+00:00

Chemical Hair Straightener Attorneys

Uterine Cancer Lawyer

The rate of uterine cancer is on the rise in the United States. Fifteen years ago, the number of cases diagnosed totalled 39,000, and in 2022, that number has increased significantly to 65,690. In fact, the incidence of uterine cancer is increasing at such a fast rate that it will soon overtake colorectal cancer as the third most common cancer in women, and the fourth most common cause of death by cancer. The number of terminal uterine cancer cases in the United States may soon equal the number of women who lose their lives to ovarian cancer. 

New research has shown that certain demographic categories of women are at greater risk of developing uterine cancer. Black and Hispanic women are more likely to develop uterine cancer, and Black women are more susceptible to a more aggressive form of the disease and twice as likely to die from it as white women. Between 2000 and 2017, nearly 18% of women who died from uterine cancer were Black. 

Black women are also more likely to use chemical hair straighteners, and a recent study at the National Institute of Health has indicated a link between the use of chemical hair straighteners and increased cancer risk.

The study took place over 10 years and included nearly 34,000 women. The results showed a significant difference in the rates of women who used chemical hair straighteners and those who did not. The risk of developing uterine cancer for women who before the age of 70 and had never used chemical hair straighteners was 1.64%. However, the number more than doubled to 4.05% for women who frequently used chemical hair straighteners (more than four times in the previous year). 

The use of chemical hair straighteners has also been linked to breast cancer. In a 2019 study of over 46,000 women by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, women who straightened their hair every five to eight weeks had about a 30% higher probability of developing breast cancer. 

Similarly, a study of women from the same cohort revealed that frequent use of chemical hair straighteners also increased the risk of ovarian cancer.

Why are Chemical Hair Straighteners Linked with Cancer Risk? 

Exposure to certain chemicals in our environment and household and personal products have been linked with an increased risk of developing cancer. Compounds in chemical hair straighteners include “forever chemicals” defined as PFAS. PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds) are man-made and since they do not break down, can pose long-lasting risks to human health. Chemical hair straighteners can contain formaldehyde, bisphenol-A, parabens and metals and some of these ingredients are endocrine disruptors, and interfere with the natural and healthy endocrine and hormonal systems in the body.

What are Other Risk Factors for Uterine Cancer? 

Uterine cancer mainly affects women in their 50s and 60s. As women age, their risk increases. Women with medical conditions that cause hormonal imbalances, such as polycystic ovary syndrome or certain ovarian tumors, may also be at increased risk. Certain medications that contain estrogen can contribute to a higher risk. Since fatty tissue in the body can produce estrogen, the risk increases dramatically in women who are overweight, as well as comorbidities like diabetes and high blood pressure. Women with a family history of uterine cancer should be proactive in checking for symptoms and communicating with their doctor.

What are the Symptoms of Uterine Cancer? 

When women get regular health screenings,  there is no test for uterine cancer, and a PAP smear can’t detect it. Therefore it is especially important for women to know what to look out for.  The most common symptom of uterine cancer is abnormal bleeding. Younger women may experience heavy bleeding, or bleeding in-between periods. Women who have already gone through menopause should consult their doctor if they experience any bleeding at all, no matter how slight. Women who miss periods, and are not pregnant, menopausal or taking hormonal-based birth control should also see their doctor as this can be a symptom of uterine cancer. Pain or pressure in the pelvic area that lasts for two weeks or more can be a symptom as well. 

What are the Tests and Treatments for Uterine Cancer? 

If the doctor suspects uterine cancer, they will examine the uterus and perform a tissue biopsy or ultrasound. The most common treatment for early stage cancer is a hysterectomy, where the uterus is removed. If the cancer is at a later stage, a doctor may recommend chemotherapy and radiation. 

What Damages Can be Claimed for Cancer Linked to Chemical Hair Straighteners? 

A cancer diagnosis can be emotionally devastating. When caught early, many women can make a full recovery from cancer. However, this can come with significant financial and emotional costs.

    • Medical bills. The costs of cancer diagnosis and treatment can be astronomical. Doctor visits, lab tests, surgery, overnight hospital stays, radiation and chemotherapy, prescription drugs, and reconstructive surgeries place a huge financial burden on cancer patients – even if they have medical insurance. 
    • Lost income. Undergoing cancer treatment means missed work, and most sick leave policies are nowhere near enough to provide paid time off to cover the entire course of treatment. When a patient should be focused on their recovery, they could be burdened with handling household bills without their regular income. 
    • Pain and suffering. Also called non-economic damages, pain and suffering damages compensate the patient for physical and emotional pain, loss of enjoyment, loss of companionship, emotional distress, and physical disfigurement. 

 What Should I Do if I Use Chemical Hair Straighteners and Have Been Diagnosed with Cancer? 

If you have used chemical hair straighteners and have been diagnosed with breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, or endometrial cancer, you may be eligible for compensation. Consult a lawyer right away. Louisiana has a short time period allowed to file a personal injury claim – the statute of limitations is only one year. 

At Allan Berger & Associates, we have years of experience in winning high settlements and verdicts for clients who have been injured due to defective products. During an initial consultation, we will review your records and determine whether you may have a viable claim. Then, we will begin devising a comprehensive strategy to help you and your family recover the compensation you are entitled to. 

We are on your side and know exactly what to do to get justice for you. Additionally, we understand the emotional turmoil and devastation that cancer can bring upon a family. The knowledgeable and skilled attorneys at Allan Berger & Associates are here to fight this battle for you. For a complimentary consultation, Contact us today to discuss your case.

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