Frequent use of hair straightening products may increase risk of uterine cancer, study says | American news

Hair straightening products may significantly increase the risk of developing uterine cancer in those who use them frequently, a large study published on Monday suggests.

“We estimate that 1.64% of women who have never used hair straighteners would develop uterine cancer by age 70, but for frequent users, that risk is as high as 4.05%,” said US study lead author Alexandra White. National Institute of Environmental Health Safety (NIEHS), said in a statement.

“However, it is important to put this information into context. Uterine cancer is a relatively rare cancer,” she added.

Still, uterine cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with rates rising, especially among black women.

Researchers followed 33,947 racially diverse women ages 35 to 74, averaging nearly 11 years. At that time, 378 women developed uterine cancer.

After researchers took into account the participants’ other risk factors, the odds of developing uterine cancer were more than two and a half times higher for women who had used products to straighten more than four times in the previous year.

Less frequent use of hair straighteners in the past year was also associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer, but the difference was not statistically significant, meaning it could be due to chance.

Previous studies have shown that hair straighteners contain so-called endocrine disrupting chemicals. The products have previously been linked to a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

“These findings are the first epidemiological evidence of an association between the use of straightening products and uterine cancer,” White and colleagues wrote in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. “More research is needed to … identify specific chemicals that drive this observed association.”

The association between the use of a hair straightener and uterine cancer did not differ by race in the study.

But “because black women are more likely to use hair straightening or relaxing products and tend to use them at a younger age than other races and ethnicities, these findings may be even more relevant to them,” NIEHS’s Che-Jung Chang said in a statement.

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