Uterine Cancer Risk Increased by Chemical Straighteners


You wouldn’t typically associate your seemingly innocuous hair care products with harmful and potentially fatal consequences such as cancer. A recent study might prompt you to review your beauty routine.

There is a strong link between the use and incidences of uterine cancer caused by chemical straighteners. Because Black women tend to use these products more frequently, chemical straightening products may be targeted at them. Black women might be more at risk than others because of this.

A The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences conducted the studyMore than 33,000 women aged between 35 and 74 were surveyed about their hair care habits. 60% of these women reported using straighteners.

According to the study, women who straighten their hair chemically at least four times a year are more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer as those who don’t use chemical straighteners. Uterine cancer (also known as endometrial carcinoma) is the most prevalent malignancy in female reproductive systems. 

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Alexandra White, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and head of the NIEHS Environment and Cancer Epidemiology group, TODAY reported that, “we see a doubling of risk for frequent users, and that’s a very alarming figure. For non-users, the absolute risk is about 1.64%, and then when you look at frequent users, the risk goes up to 4.05%. It’s a notable increase in risk.”

It’s estimated that there have been a startling 65,950 new cases of uterine cancer in the U.S. this year, representing 3% of all new cases of cancer in the country. These numbers are rising, so it is worth looking into what could be causing them and what we can do about it.

Long straight hair has been a symbol of beauty and social status for a long time. “ideal”Whiteness is often associated with textured hair, while texture has been stigmatized and discriminated against. Chemical relaxers are used by many Black women. These chemicals are asthma-inducing or endocrine-disrupting.When they give up their natural hair. These societal pressures have now been proven to have toxic consequences—literally. 

It’s good to know that more Black women are accepting their hair as it is, regardless of social pressures. Here’s to hoping we can build a world that allows women to feel comfortable with their natural beauty without feeling they have to resort to potentially harmful procedures.

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