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Uterine Cancer and Hair Straighteners

Women who regularly use chemical hair straighteners and relaxers may have a higher risk of uterine cancer according to recent studies, including a study from researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). As a result, a growing number of hair straightener lawsuits are being filed in the U.S.  

Many hair straighteners and hair relaxers contain metals, and chemicals such as formaldehyde, formaldehyde-releasing chemicals, parabens, and phthalates, which are synthetic endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs can alter the way hormones act in the body. Exposure to excess estrogen and imbalances in the hormones estrogen and progesterone are known risk factors for uterine cancer.

What Is Uterine Cancer?

Uterine cancer is one of the most common gynecologic cancers, and diagnoses of uterine cancers have increased in the past 20 years. More than 65,950 cases of uterine cancer and 12,550 deaths from uterine cancer were expected in 2022 in the United States alone.

“Uterine cancer” is a general term used to describe various cancers of the uterus. The uterus is the part of the female reproductive system where the baby grows and develops during pregnancy.

The top part of the uterus is called the body or corpus. The end of the uterus is the cervix. Uterine cancer is distinct from cervical cancer and refers to cancer in the body of the uterus.

Uterine cancers include endometrial cancer, uterine sarcoma, or other rare forms of cancer that can form in the uterus. Endometrial cancer is the most common uterine cancer and is also the cancer studies have linked to regular use of chemical hair straighteners and relaxers. The terms uterine cancer and endometrial cancer are sometimes used interchangeably because endometrial cancers are so much more common than other uterine cancers.

Endometrial cancer begins in the layer of cells that form the lining (endometrium) of the uterus. It is often detected in an early stage because it frequently causes abnormal vaginal bleeding.

What Does the Endometrium Do?

The endometrium is the inner layer of a female’s uterus. It changes during her menstrual cycle. The hormone estrogen causes the endometrium to thicken during pregnancy. If no pregnancy occurs, the body produces less estrogen and more progesterone, a different hormone, and in that case, the endometrial lining sheds. That is when the woman’s period takes place.

What Are the Symptoms of Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer?

Uterine cancer may cause vaginal discharge or abnormal bleeding. Bleeding may be considered “abnormal” when it is heavier than is normal for a particular individual or when it happens at unusual times, such as between periods or after a female has gone through menopause. Bleeding is never normal after menopause. Other symptoms of uterine cancer may include pain or pressure in the pelvis.

Uterine Cancer Lawsuits

Women who regularly used chemical hair straighteners and relaxers and have been diagnosed with uterine (endometrial) cancer are filing lawsuits against the companies that make those products. If you have been diagnosed with uterine cancer after regular exposure to hair straighteners, contact us for a free evaluation.



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