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Association of Talc Use and Ovarian Cancer

Cancer is among the leading infection with a high mortality rate in the world. The disease is caused by various factors such as an unhealthy diet, bacteria and parasites, and exposure to some materials with chemicals that are cancer-related. Regarding ovarian cancer, previous studies explain that the primary causes for the abnormal growth of cells around the ovaries relate to reproductive hygiene. While many women use diaphragms, sanitary towels and napkins, some studies establish that such materials have hydrous magnesium silicates, which are significantly related to ovarian cancer development. Moreover, Terry et al. show that the correlation of epithelial ovarian cancer and talc exposure is determined by various factors such as; smoking and menopausal status at diagnosis.1In this article,” Ovarian Cancer and Talc. A Case-Control Study,” Cramer et al. evaluate whether exposure to talc can contribute to the prevalence of ovarian cancer.2While the researchers obtained that ovarian cancer patients have a high exposure level to hydrous magnesium silicates such as talc and asbestos, this paper evaluates the sample size and the efficacy of the control group used during the survey.

The controlled case study investigates talc exposure and its relation to ovarian cancer. Daniel et al. explored the pathology logs and tumor boards consisting of women who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer between 1978 and 1981. Twelve collaborating hospitals in The Greater Boston area were used to identify the sample population. A total of 256 women were eligible for the survey. Besides, 215 women were chosen from the general population as a control group. The research was limited to English-speaking women residing in Massachusetts, ages 18 to 80. Each patient was interviewed to assess menstrual, reproductive, medical, and family histories and environmental exposures to talc through contraceptive procedures, operations, or perennial hygiene, as detailed in this study. The authors discovered a link between ovarian cancer and hygiene practices that included the use of talc. The danger of ovarian cancer was more significant in ladies with talc on perineum and napkins than women who didn’t use such products. In addition, the characteristics of tumors that developed in women exposed to talc regularly were almost similar to those without perennial exposure to talc. They also obtained that women who had a history of cesarean section, appendectomy and hysterectomy had a higher risk of contracting ovarian cancer. This study’s findings had several strengths, such as the large sample size of more than 50% of the general ovarian cancer patients’ population and a corresponding control group that helped compare the variables extensively.

Ovarian cancer cases are rapidly growing worldwide. Several studies speculate that women who frequently use hydrous magnesium silicates are prone to ovarian cancer. However, there is a very little epidemiologic study on the link between ovarian cancer, talc and asbestos. Cramer et al. conducted this study to investigate whether ovarian cancer is caused by talc exposure. The authors successfully ascertained that talc exposure is directly linked to ovarian cancer. Indeed, this study’s findings were accurate and reliable because of two main strengths; the use of a large sample and the inclusion of a control group. The researchers recruited 256 women with ovarian cancer from 12 hospitals in Greater Boston. This sample was sufficiently large since the total participants constituted more than 50% of the entire ovarian cancer patients diagnosed between November 1978 and September 1981. Besides, the age distribution of the participants was between 18 and 80 years, hence efficiently representing the larger population. According to Kyriazos, a good sample size should extensively define the study population’s demographic and clinical variables during evaluation.3 As such, this study’s sample size met the representation threshold hence guaranteeing reliable results. The researchers included a control group in addition to having a large sample to evaluate the correlation between ovarian cancer and talc. While a control group is vital for assessing scientific research, it enables the researchers to accurately assess the significance of a tested factor by comparing the experimental group variables with those in the control group.4 For instance, the authors compared the frequency use of talc and asbestos materials between the control and experimental groups, assisting them in establishing the correlation between epithelial ovarian cancer and talc. Therefore, the control group promoted the accuracy and reliability of outcomes. Yet some researchers may challenge that the view that the relatively large sample and control group could improve the accuracy and reliability of this study’s outcome. For example, Coroiu et al. suggest that a large sample may result in robust errors, especially when the research involves self-scale reports.5 Nevertheless, Fihn refutes the claims arguing that failure to include a large sample and a control group in clinical experiments leads to misrepresentation of essential factors that alter the general outcome.6 As such, it was worthwhile to recruit participants with proper representation of the entire study population.

In conclusion, the large sample and the control group promoted this study’s outcome’s reliability, accuracy, and generalization. The 256 eligible cases in this study covered more than half of all ovarian cancer cases. Also, selecting the control group with similar demographic variables to the case group ensured proper evaluation and comparison of all the variables present in the case and control group. Although some scholars claim that errors were likely to occur due to the data collection methods, similar studies confirm the existence of a positive correlation between ovarian cancer and talc. However, more research should be conducted to assess other effects of hydrous magnesium silicates on women. Besides, women should be careful about their hygiene and the types of materials and powders they use around their genitals.


  1. Terry KL, Cramer DW, Vitonis AF, Welch WR, Titus LJ. The association between talc use and ovarian cancer: A retrospective case-control study in two US states. [Internet]. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.). 2016 May;27 [Cited 2021 Nov 1]. Available from:
  2. Cramer DW, Welch WR, Scully RE, Wojciechowski CA. Ovarian cancer and talc. A case‐control study. Cancer. 1982 Jul 15. [Cited 2021 Nov 1]. Available from:;2-S
  3. Kyriazos TA. Applied psychometrics: sample size and sample power considerations in factor analysis (EFA, CFA) and SEM in general. [Internet]. Psychology. 2018 Aug 24. [Cited 2021 Nov 1]. Available from:
  4. Pithon MM. Importance of the control group in scientific research. [Internet]. Dental Press Journal of Orthodontics. 2013 Dec. [Cited 2021 Nov 1]. Available from:
  5. Coroiu A, Moran C, Campbell T, Geller AC. Barriers and facilitators of adherence to social distancing recommendations during COVID-19 among a large international sample of adults. PloS one. [Internet]. 2020 Oct 7. [Cited 2021 Nov 1]. Available from:
  6. Fihn SD. Combating misrepresentation of research findings. [Internet]. JAMA network open. 2019 May 3. [Cited 2021 Nov 1]. Available from:


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