Women who use chemicals to straighten their hair have an increased risk of uterine cancer, suggests a study by the American Institutes of Health, the NIH (National Institutes of Health), published Monday, October 17, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Black women, who use these products more, would be more affected.
The study involved 33,497 American women, aged 35 to 74, participating in the “Sister” cohort, conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). These were sisters of American women who had developed breast cancer, included from 2003 to 2009 in the “Sister” program. Among them, 7.4% were black, 4.4% Hispanic, 85.6% white and 2.5% belonged to other populations.
This cohort was followed for nearly eleven years. Over this period, 378 cases of uterine cancer were diagnosed. The study finds a clear association: women who used hair straightening products had an 80% increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. Those who frequently used these products – more than four times in the previous year – had a risk multiplied by 2.5. Thereby, “1.64% of women who had never used hair straightening products developed uterine cancer by the age of 70, compared to 4.05% of frequent users of these products “Summarizes Alexandra White, lead author of the study, in a press release from the NIH. A multiplication of risk “concerning”she judges, even if this cancer remains “relatively rare”.
“It’s a really credible study, especially since it shows a dose effect, with a higher risk for the most frequent exposures”, says Suzette Delaloge, director of the personalized cancer prevention program at the Gustave-Roussy Institute (Villejuif, Val-de-Marne). This study confirms the weight of known risk factors such as age, overweight or low level of physical activity.
The researchers also took care to make adjustments to eliminate the impact of other risk factors: body mass index, level of physical activity, menopausal status, alcohol and tobacco consumption, the use of hormones for the purposes of contraception or replacement therapy for the menopause, level of education, profession, place of residence, etc. In addition, women who worked in hairdressing salons or beauty salons beauty were excluded from the analysis so that occupational exposures would not affect the results.
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