Infertility is associated with a higher risk of developing cancer in women of childbearing age, say researchers including one of Indian-origin.
The findings, published in the journal Human Reproduction, showed that infertile women had an overall 18 per cent higher risk of developing cancer compared to women who were not infertile.
However, the absolute risk is very low at just two per cent compared to 1.7 per cent among women who are not infertile, found researchers at Stanford University in the US.
“We do not know the causes of the increase in cancer that we found in this study, whether it might be the infertility itself, the causes of the infertility, or the infertility treatment,” said lead author Gayathree Murugappan.
“We can only show there is an association between them,” she added.
For the study, the team analysed data from 64,345 infertile women who were followed for nearly four years.
Although breast cancer was the most common in both fertile and infertile women, the team found a slightly higher risk of hormone-driven cancers of the ovary and uterus among the infertile women.
They also found a slightly higher risk of cancers of the lung, thyroid, liver and gallbladder and leukaemia among the infertile women.
“While several of these associations were significant, it is important to note that the absolute increases in risk were modest,” said Murugappan.
“The low overall incidence of cancer among these women means that one in 49 infertile women would develop cancer during the follow-up period compared to one in 59 women who were not infertile,” said Michael Eisenberg, Associate Professor at the varsity.
Further research needs to be carried out to determine what factors may be influencing the long-term risk of cancer for infertile women, Eisenberg noted. (IANS)
After the US health regulators found traces of asbestos in samples from Johnson & Johnson (J&J) baby powder and forced the company to recall 33,000 bottles of talcum powder, physicians in India have warned that long-term exposure of asbestos can trigger lung cancer in children.
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have the potential to cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health groups.
According to media reports, customers should stop using powder from the affected J&J batch ‘immediately’.
In its defence, the 133-year-old J&J said it had launched a review and prior tests have not found asbestos.
The firm is facing thousands of lawsuits from people who claim its talc products caused cancer, which J&J has strongly denied, said media reports.
“The only protection we have against asbestos is knowledge, vigilance and care for our children. If the lungs of children are pre-mature then they are more prone to get affected by asbestos,” Rajesh Chawla, Senior Consultant Respiratory Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, told IANS.
“Children, who have accidentally inhaled asbestos, might see the effect after many years. Some can even develop lung cancer. In the advanced stage, one can also suffer from peritoneal mesothelioma,” Chawla explained.
The USFDA has been testing dozens of products for asbestos, a known carcinogen amid rising public concern.
In an earlier statement, J&J said that out of an abundance of caution, “it is initiating a voluntary recall in the United States of a single lot of its Johnson’s Baby Powder in response to a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) test indicating the presence of sub-trace levels of chrysotile asbestos contamination (no greater than 0.00002%) in samples from a single bottle purchased from an online retailer”.
“Despite the low levels reported and in full cooperation and collaboration with the FDA, JJCI is initiating this voluntary recall of Lot #22318RB of Johnson’s Baby Powder, from which the tested sample was taken,” the company added.
According to Anubhava Patel, Consultant Neonatology and Paediatric at Motherhood Hospital in Noida, asbestos can cause restrictive lung disease and severe respiratory insufficiency.
“Long term inhalation can cause lung cancer (mesothelioma). It’s an occupational health hazard. These days asbestos is found in talcum powder and it is harmful to the kids,” Patel told IANS.
According to a case study on 33 patients, published recently in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, exposure to asbestos-tainted talcum powder may cause malignant mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer that affects tissues lining internal organs.
“Exposure to asbestos-contaminated talcum powders can cause mesothelioma. Clinicians should elicit a history of talcum powder usage in all patients presenting with mesothelioma,” the study noted.
“Mesothelioma is considerably a new condition for India, with the first case being reported in 2015. Much of India’s asbestos-related health is primarily occupational and second-hand exposure,” said Manish Mannan, Pediatrics, Paras Hospital in Gurugram.
He added that kids who work with the material in factories are often the victims of diseases derived from asbestos exposure.
“Patients may not develop symptoms of mesothelioma as these symptoms are typically only discovered in the later stages of the disease. Treatment involved either some form of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy,” Mannan added. (IANS)