According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly sixty-six thousand new cases of uterine cancer have been diagnosed in 2022 alone. The known risk factors for this disease are older age, obesity, trouble conceiving, and familial history.
But, new research conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has revealed that chemical hair straightening product use may also be a contributing factor.
The study included nearly thirty-three thousand and five hundred women, all between the ages of thirty-five and seventy-four.
Researchers followed these women for eleven years and found that during that time, three hundred and seventy-eight women received uterine cancer diagnoses.
And after analyzing this trend, a link between the disease and hair straightening products was uncovered.
According to the study, women who frequently use the products– meaning more than four times a year– are over two times more likely to develop uterine cancer as opposed to women who do not use the products.
“We estimated that 1.64% of women who never used hair straighteners would go on to develop uterine cancer by age seventy. But, for frequent users, that risk goes up to 4.05%,” added Alexandra White, the study’s lead author.
This finding could have major implications on the Black community since about sixty percent of the study participants were self-identified Black women, and the prevalence of hair straightening product use among this demographic is high.
“Because Black women use hair straightening or relaxer products more frequently and tend to initiate use at earlier ages than other races and ethnicities, these findings may be even more relevant for them,” explained Che-Jung Chang, one of the study’s authors.
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