It is often difficult for physicians to determine the cause of a case of uterine cancer. However, there are several chemicals that are known to increase the risk of this type of cancer. Breast cancer medications and certain estrogen-increasing medications have been linked to uterine cancer in the past. As with other types of cancer, however, researchers often discover new carcinogenics.
A recent study run by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has linked chemical hair relaxers with a significantly higher likelihood of uterine cancer. These chemical hair relaxers sometimes include ingredients that disrupt the body's natural production of estrogen. The use of such hair relaxers may help to explain the higher incidence of uterine cancer among certain demographics.
See below for more info on the link between chemical hair relaxers and uterine cancer.
Chemical hair relaxers may double the risk of uterine cancer
A study that was run by the NIH and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed that women who use hair relaxing and hair straightening chemicals regularly are more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer as women who do not use these chemicals. For the purposes of the study, women who used hair straightening chemicals at least four times per year were considered to be regular users.
Chemical hair relaxers contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals
Chemical hair relaxers may contain several chemicals that are known to change how the body produces estrogen. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can include parabens, phthalates, and even the components of various fragrances. EDCs have long been established as carcinogens related to both uterine cancer and breast cancer. There is even evidence linking EDCs to ovarian cancer.
These chemicals may explain the higher incidence of uterine cancer among black women
Many products commonly used by black women, such as chemical hair straighteners, contain EDCs. Now that the use of hair straightening products has been linked to uterine cancer, it is easier to understand why uterine cancer rates are higher among black women.
Researchers had long noted that black women had much higher rates of uterine cancer than women of other races. However, the reason for this was not certain. Some researchers believed that black women were simply genetically predisposed to uterine cancer.
However, it now seems likely that environmental factors (such as the use of hair straightening products) are directly linked to the higher rate of uterine cancer among black women. It should be noted that women of other races are far less likely to use chemical hair straightening products than black women. While there may be other factors, the link between the usage of hair-relaxing chemicals and uterine cancer cannot be ignored.
Lawsuits have been filed against hair relaxer manufacturers
Shortly after the study linking hair relaxers and uterine cancer was published, lawsuits were filed against manufacturers of these hair straightening products. These suits claim that the manufacturers of such products were negligent in making and selling products that contained carcinogens. Women who have suffered from uterine cancer can now join these suits to get the justice they deserve.