Medical Experts Recommend Women Use Cornstarch Powder.American Cancer Society and Other Cancer Groups Say Non-Talc Powders
Are Safe to Use
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Cancer Society (ACS (Asynchronous Communications Server) See network access server. ) and National Ovarian Cancer ovarian cancer
Malignant tumour of the ovaries. Risk factors include early age of first menstruation (before age 12), late onset of menopause (after age 52), absence of pregnancy, presence of specific genetic mutations, use of fertility drugs, and personal history of breast Coalition (NOCC NOCC Network Operations & Control Center
NOCC Network Operations Control Center
NOCC National Ovarian Cancer Coalition
NOCC Network Operations Command Center
NOCC National Operations Control Center (FAA) ), among others are recommending that women use cornstarch cornstarch, material made by pulverizing the ground, dried residue of corn grains after preparatory soaking and the removal of the embryo and the outer covering. It is used as laundry starch, in sizing paper, in making adhesives, and in cooking. powders, rather than talcum tal·cum
talc, talcum powder. powders, in the genital area.
Media coverage of this topic in recent years has caused confusion among the millions of women who use powder in the feminine area. "Some reports did not differentiate between talc and cornstarch powders, despite the fact that recently published studies found a weak association between talcum and ovarian cancer," says Dr. Stephen Pennisi, a board-certified toxicologist and vice president of product safety at Combe Incorporated Combe Incorporated, based in White Plains, New York, is a privately owned personal-care company founded in 1949 by Ivan Combe. It is best known for its Odor Eaters line of foot-care products. Combe also owns the brands Just for Men, Lanacane, Scalpicin, Vagisil, and Grecian Formula. , maker of Vagisil(R) Feminine Powder, which has been made with cornstarch since its introduction 15 years ago. "There has been no study that has shown any risk of ovarian cancer with the use of cornstarch-based powder," he explains.
Consumers need to know that there are mainly two types of powders -- cornstarch and talc, he adds. Medical groups, such as the ACS, make a clear distinction between the two types of powders and offer recommendations to women on which ones are considered safe to use. For example, "Talcum Powder and Cancer" from the ACS states: "Until additional information is available, women may wish to consider avoiding these products or substituting cornstarch-based powders that contain no talc."
Joseph Imperato, M.D., president of the Illinois Division of the American Cancer Society, confirming this position, states: "The American Cancer Society currently recommends that women who wish to use powder use a cornstarch-based powder and avoid talc powders at this time."
Other cancer and health organizations concur with the ACS support of cornstarch powder. One such group is NOCC, a Boca Raton Boca Raton (bō`kə rətōn`), city (1990 pop. 61,492), Palm Beach co., SE Fla., on the Atlantic; inc. 1925. Boca Raton is a popular resort and retirement community that experienced significant industrial development in the 1970s and 80s. , Fla.-based national non-profit organization, which supports women with ovarian cancer through local chapters, an extensive web site and public education about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments of this often deadly cancer. In its literature, NOCC states: "Until more research is conducted, it is prudent to avoid using talc powder in the genital region. There are a number of cornstarch-based powders on the market, however, which offer women a safe alternative."
Additionally, Louis Keith, M.D., a NOCC medical advisory board member and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Northwestern University Medical School, says, "There has never been a shred of evidence suggesting that there's even a minute link between any product with cornstarch in it and ovarian cancer ... The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition has very simple advice for the 40 percent of American women who use some type of powder in the genital area. That advice is to avoid any powder that contains talcum and to seek out those products that contain cornstarch."
As further support for cornstarch, an extensive research paper, "Perineal perineal /peri·ne·al/ (-ne´al) pertaining to the perineum.
The diamond-shaped region of the body between the pubic arch and the anus. Powder Containing Cornstarch," conducted by John Whysner, M.D., Toxicology and Risk Assessment Program at the American Health Foundation, confirms the safety of cornstarch. "We did the most comprehensive study that's been done to date on this topic. We reviewed the world's literature -- looked at over 50 research papers, and although there were some associations found between the use of talc-containing genital powders and ovarian cancer, there were not these types of associations found for cornstarch-containing powders."
Based on Dr. Whysner's expertise and the findings of this paper, he offers the following advice to women who wish to use feminine powder: "If a person is concerned about the risk of ovarian cancer from the use of talc-containing powders, I think that cornstarch-containing powder is a safe alternative."
When asked why cornstarch is safer to use than talc, Dr. Whysner says, "Cornstarch is the way that the corn plant stores energy. It's also the starch that is used in food products, and the body can digest cornstarch. Talc, on the other hand, is a mineral. It's mined from the earth, and the body has a difficult time removing it."
Dr. Pennisi adds, "Since cornstarch is derived from corn and that's a food, our body has natural enzymes to break it down rather easily, whereas talc, which is a mineral and not normally found in the body, cannot be broken down by the body."
The American Health Foundation paper, he adds, says essentially three things:
-- Unlike talc, cornstarch feminine powders have never been associated
with ovarian cancer.
-- By the very nature of cornstarch, any association with ovarian cancer
is not biologically plausible.
-- Cornstarch is a safe alternative to talc in feminine powders.
For more information about the safety of feminine powders, go to http://www.vagisil.com, http://www.ovarian.org, http://www.cancer.org.