December 2, 2022
Potential Link Found Between Uterine Cancer and Hair Straightening Chemicals
The appearance of hair, whether straight or curly, is dependent upon the shape of the hair follicle, and that appearance is then held by disulfide bonds. Chemical hair straighteners (also known as relaxers) use a variety of chemicals to break down those disulfide bonds, resulting in a straight or “relaxed” look.
A potential link found between uterine cancer and hair straightening chemicals calls the safety of these products into question. If you believe that your cancer diagnosis may have been the result of using a dangerous product that you believed to be safe, we encourage you to contact Bey & Associates as soon as possible. Our compassionate attorneys are ready to discuss what happened to you, and we’ll make sure you understand all the legal options at your disposal.
The Link Between Chemical Hair Straighteners and Uterine Cancer
Conducted by researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and originally published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the study entitled “Use of Straighteners and Other Hair Products and Incident Uterine Cancer” paints a grim picture. Evaluating data collected from approximately 33,000 women, researchers specifically focused on risk factors for a variety of health conditions, including breast cancer.
What researchers found was an alarming link between chemical hair straighteners and uterine cancer.
According to the study, women who used relaxers for an average of 11 years were approximately twice as likely to develop uterine cancer compared to women who had not used these products. More frequent use of chemical hair straighteners was associated with an even higher rate of cancer, an average of 2.5 times more for those who used them four or more times in the year before the study.
The Impact of Cancer-Causing Hair Straighteners on the Black Community
There is a prolonged social history of discrimination against the Black community in America. When it comes to the workforce, Black men and women have repeatedly faced discrimination based on factors like the shape and style of their hair. Many people in this community feel forced to assimilate in order to succeed in their careers, which often includes altering their natural hair.
The study found a stronger link between uterine cancer and chemical hair straighteners in Black women when compared to women of other races. This is due in large part to the fact that this community faces continual societal pressure to conform to a white beauty standard.
Symptoms of Uterine Cancer
Uterine cancer is a type of cancer that first forms in the endometrium, which is the layer of cells that line the uterus. It can be classified as either endometrial cancer or uterine sarcoma. Of these two, endometrial cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form.
Symptoms of uterine cancer include:
- Bleeding in between periods
- Bleeding after menopause
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Abnormal periods
- Lower abdominal pain
- Pelvic pain
- Cramping between periods
- Unexplained weight loss
- Painful or difficult urination
- Pain during sexual intercourse
Never ignore any troubling gynecological symptoms. If you’ve experienced any of the above symptoms and have used hair straightening chemicals in the past, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist as soon as possible. Report your symptoms and concerns, and insist on further evaluations or tests if your doctor seems hesitant to take action. Never be afraid to seek a second opinion. Remember—you are your most powerful advocate.
Uterine Cancer Life Expectancy
An estimated 65,950 people will be diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2022 alone. Since the mid-2000s, the number of people diagnosed with uterine cancer has increased by approximately 1% per year.
In the United States, the average five-year survival rate for uterine cancer is 81%. This figure encompasses women of all races but doesn’t necessarily paint an accurate picture of what an individual patient’s actual life expectancy might be. While the five-year survival rate is 84% for white women, it falls to only 63% for Black women.
Legal Action for Uterine Cancer Caused by Chemical Hair Straighteners
Consumers should be able to purchase products with confidence, knowing that they are safe for use and will not cause them harm. Unfortunately, unsafe products routinely make it onto the shelves, potentially putting you and everyone you love in harm’s way.
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with uterine cancer after using chemical hair straighteners, you may have legal standing to file a product liability lawsuit. This is a type of lawsuit that seeks to hold companies, manufacturers, and distributors responsible for the harm they’ve caused by allowing dangerous products to make it to market.
A product liability lawsuit can help you recover compensation that is vital to your recovery. Losses like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more are typically compensable with this type of legal claim.
Bey & Associates Is a Powerful Advocate for Uterine Cancer Patients
The potential link between uterine cancer and hair straightening chemicals is sure to have a profound impact on those who regularly use these products.
Regardless of the reason you used chemical hair straighteners, you should not have been unfairly subjected to an increased risk of cancer. If you’ve since been diagnosed with uterine cancer and are ready to hold the negligent manufacturers and companies responsible for their actions, Bey & Associates is here for you. We encourage you to contact our law office as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.