Powdered Bums
Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 7:49AM
Eularee in Boomers, Dr Charles Anderson, Johnson & Johnson, baby powder, cancer survivors, keytruda, ovarian cancer, talc powder

As a cancer survivor, every article, newscast, social media post, or rumor perks your curiosity. I try to focus on the positive research, survival rates and new treatment protocols, but inevitably one crazy development jumps into the mix. 

TV ads are blaring out the news that baby powder has a direct link to ovarian cancer. Since I have been there, still doing that and have the T-shirt, this would, of course, get my attention. My daughters are questioning my life long practice of using baby powder since my diagnosis, and knowing that it is the only source of personal hygiene in my bathroom since I was a teenager. I am highly allergic to deodorants, perfumes, lotions, and most fragrant soaps and girly adornments. Baby powder has been the one staple that I have been able to use without fear of side effects. 

Rather than panic, especially since these ads seem to favor litigators, not survivors, I decided to do my due diligence and research the allegations. There is little evidence to support the theory that the use of baby powder or talc is cause for ovarian cancer. Moving on, I spoke to my oncologist, Dr. Charles Anderson, who is also the head of a study on the effects of Keytruda on ovarian cancer. His thoughts were interesting.

Apparently, the theory of talc powder causing cancer is one of the first things Dr. Anderson said they are taught in medical school. The theory has existed for decades, but there is no evidential science or research to support the theory. The reason it has become such news now, is because litigation has made it ripe for the picking. If there were supportive evidence, such as in the case of cigarettes and lung cancer, talc powder would have been removed from products or certainly have warning labels. We know cigarettes can lead to lung cancer, and yet we still sell them. Alcohol is linked to liver disease, and yet we still sell it. It is not surprising that baby powder has been around, but that there is no scientific evidence to prove its harmful nature, seems curious.

Here is my theory. And please, remember this is only the theory of a lay person. I, too, have no science to back up my thoughts on the subject. I am not discounting anyone's experience. That being said, babies have been doused with talc powder for generations. Johnson & Johnson have been around for decades and are the leaders in baby and family products. Sure, they could be hiding evidence that talc powder is harmful to protect their company brand. The real question is why? Could they produce a baby powder without talc? Yes, and they do. Could generations of babies be at risk? Why is there not an epidemic of powdered bums in oncologists offices around the world? Why wouldn't these doctors raise a red flag?

Use common sense. If you are concerned, stop using baby powder. Make your own. My grandmother used corn starch. I don't advocate turning a blind eye. But, I honestly believe that cancer is a crap shoot. We are all vulnerable. From our environment to our food, plastics to treated wood, solvents, household cleaners...the list goes on and on. I have known people who never smoked a day in their life getting lung cancer. I have known people who smoke like chimneys all their lives and never get cancer. What I do know is, if you live a healthy life, eat properly, exercise, you will have the right stuff to fight should cancer come calling.

Life is not a spectator sport. Do your homework, and don't feed the monster. Love those around you. Take care of the business of living each day to the fullest. Enjoy the small things, because in the end, they are the most precious. Pack your bag with laughter, blessings and FUN! Let the rest of it go. 

Just my two cents, from the chemo chair.

Article originally appeared on Eularee Smith • Writer & Educator in Eugene, Oregon (http://www.eularee.com/).
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