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The link between uterine cancer risk and hair-straightening chemicals

Dec 29, 2022

A new astonishing study has shown the link between hair-straightening chemicals and uterine cancer. Research published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found the rising threat of uterine cancer linked with hair-straightening chemicals.

The study revealed that the women who used hair straightening chemicals; more than four times a year; were more prone to uterine cancer than those who were not using them at all 1. This study raises many questions regarding the safety of hair care products. The National Institutes of Health report is considered preliminary research, and further investigation is required to implement the specific product advice 2.

Researchers’ investigation

NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ new study analyzed the data from 34,000 women in the United States for a decade that noticed the health risk of breast cancer and other health threats among women. At this time, scientists detected that 378 women had Uterine cancer linked to the hair care routine 2.

The data produced by National Cancer Institute shows that nearly 66,000 women were diagnosed with uterine cancer, of which 12,500 patients died. The rate of death was high among non-Hispanic Black women 2.

The earlier studies demonstrate that the aggressive subtypes of uterine cancer affect black women more. However, recent research revealed that women of all races and ethnicities using hair straightening chemicals are at high risk of uterine cancer. Moreover, black women use hair straightening chemicals more often than others.

The head of the Environment and Cancer Epidemiology group, Alexandra White, said, “I don’t think Black women are necessarily at a higher risk from using these products. They’re just more likely to be the ones who are using these products 3.”

Concern related to hair-straightening chemicals

The interpretation by researchers acknowledges that they have not searched for the special ingredient in hair products that have a carcinogenic effect. However, chemicals like formaldehyde, metals, and parabens can be associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Scholars also found that the straightening chemical is more hazardous than other hair products. Hair straightening chemicals cause abrasions and burns on the scalp due to the absorption of the chemical in the skin 3.

Uterine cancer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the factor that increases the chance of uterine cancer includes the following:

  • Obesity
  • Age> 50 years.
  • Trouble getting pregnant
  • Taking the drug tamoxifen to treat breast cancer
  • A family history of uterine, colon, or ovarian cancers 4

Symptoms of uterine cancer

  • Abnormal bleeding or discharge
  • Pain or pressure in the pelvis area

The National Cancer Institute reports that uterine cancer is curable and has an 81% survival rate after diagnosis. The prognosis rate is much better, with a survival rate of 95 percent 2.

References

  1. Chang CJ, O’Brien KM, Keil AP, Gaston SA, Jackson CL, et al. Use of Straighteners and Other Hair Products and Incident Uterine Cancer. JNCI 2022; 00: djac165.
  2. Cancer Stat Facts. Cancer Stat Facts: Uterine Cancer. National Cancer Institute. https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/corp.html
  3. Bever L. What to know about hair-straightening chemicals and uterine cancer risk. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2022/10/18/chemical-hair-straighten-uterine-cancer/#UC5I6ODJI5HENAZGYZGWISLZAQ-0
  4. CDC. Uterine Cancer. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/uterine/basic_info/risk_factors.htm.

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