Use of talcum powder and endometrial cancer risk
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Use of talcum powder in the perineal area has been associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer, and a recent cohort study found a positive association with endometrial cancer. We sought to confirm this association using data from the Australian National Endometrial Cancer Study (ANECS).
ANECS was a population-based case–control study conducted from 2005 to 2007, in which 1,399 women with newly diagnosed histologically confirmed primary endometrial cancer and 740 control women provided risk factor information via telephone interview. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios adjusting for potential confounders.
We found no significant association between ever use of talc in the perineal area (OR 0.88, 95% CI: 0.68–1.14) or upper body area (OR 0.90, 95% CI: 0.71–1.14) and risk of endometrial cancer. The results were similar when stratified by subtype. Composite variables combining frequency and duration of talc use were also not significantly associated with risk (any perineal area use p = 0.07 and any upper body use p = 0.49).
The absence of any increase in risk and the similarity of our results for talc use on the upper body and in the perineal area do not support the hypothesis that use of talc in the perineal area is associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancer. Our data do not confirm the positive association between perineal talc use and endometrial cancer observed in the only previous study.
KeywordsEndometrium Carcinoma Case–control studies Talc Risk factors
The Australian National Endometrial Cancer Study was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia (#339435) and Cancer Council Tasmania (#403031 and 457636). C. M. Nagle, P. M. Webb, and A. B. Spurdle are funded by Fellowships from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. AS Neill is funded by a Cancer Council Queensland scholarship. These organisations had no further involvement with the study. We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the following institutions: NSW: John Hunter Hospital, Liverpool Hospital, Mater Misericordiae Hospital (Sydney), Mater Misericordiae Hospital (Newcastle), Newcastle Private Hospital, North Shore Private Hospital, Royal Hospital for Women, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, St George Hospital; Westmead Hospital, Westmead Private Hospital; QLD: Brisbane Private Hospital, Greenslopes Hospital, Mater Misericordiae Hospitals, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Wesley Hospital, Queensland Cancer Registry; SA: Adelaide Pathology Partners, Burnside Hospital, Calvary Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Royal Adelaide Hospital, South Australian Cancer Registry; Tas: Launceston Hospital, North West Regional Hospitals, Royal Hobart Hospital; Vic: Freemasons Hospital, Melbourne Pathology Services, Mercy Hospital for Women, Royal Women’s Hospital, Victorian Cancer Registry; WA: King Edward Memorial Hospital, St John of God Hospitals Subiaco and Murdoch, Western Australian Cancer Registry.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported.
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