The Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) is the largest women’s health study ever conducted. This U.S. government-funded cohort study has looked into risk factors for major chronic diseases in women since 1976. Among many other breakthroughs, research from the NHS helped expose the link between smoking and heart diseases in women, and led to the development of hormonal therapies for breast cancer treatment.
The talc-use portion of the NHS included 78,630 women who were followed for as long as 24 years in total.4,5 They were asked whether they had ever used talcum powder on their genital area or on sanitary napkins. About 40 percent of women answered yes and were included in the talc-user group.4,5
The study data showed no increase in the overall rate of ovarian cancer among the talc users, regardless of how often they used talc. There was no difference in the rate of ovarian cancer among women who used the powder directly on their bodies or on sanitary products.4,5