Uterine cancer, often misdiagnosed in women who use hair relaxers

Treven Pyles

By Treven Pyles

Posted on February 09th, 2023

As the most common gynecological cancer, uterine cancer occurs yearly in over 66,000 American women. While the causes of uterine cancer vary from having polycystic ovary syndrome to being overweight, it has recently come to light that it can also stem from using hair relaxers, which abound in endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

The most common type of uterine cancer is endometrial cancer, which forms in the lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium. Still, a woman can also develop uterine sarcoma, which accounts for 2% to 5% of all uterine cancer diagnoses. A little over 3% of women will receive a uterine cancer diagnosis at some point during their lifetime. The average survival rate for uterine cancer is 84% for white women and 63% for Black women. This is because the latter are more likely to develop aggressive forms of uterine cancer. At the same time, Black women represent the main hair relaxer consumers - 60% of women who use these products are Black. Hair relaxers have recently been found to contain toxic chemicals that are also endocrine disruptors, such as formaldehyde, phthalates, bisphenol A, and parabens.

Unfortunately, there are no screening tests for uterine cancer, and contrary to popular belief, the Pap test cannot reveal whether a woman has uterine cancer. The doctor will order a transvaginal ultrasound or a biopsy to confirm or disprove the diagnosis if uterine cancer is suspected. For this reason, if you have been using hair relaxers for a long time, it is essential to be aware of the warning signs of uterine cancer, which are the following:

  • heavy periods that are unusual for you
  • vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • a change to your vaginal discharge
  • pain between your hip bones
  • a lump or swelling in your abdomen
  • blood in the urine
  • pain in the lower back
  • vaginal bleeding in between periods
  • difficulty urinating

Deaths from uterine cancer are on the rise in the country and are the highest among Black women, according to a study led by researchers at the National Cancer Institute published in the medical journal JAMA Oncology. The researchers found that deaths of women from all racial and ethnic groups from uterine cancer increased by 1.8% per year. On the other hand, deaths from non-endometroid subtypes of uterine cancer, which are more aggressive, increased by 2.7% per year. Black women had more than twice the death rate from uterine cancer and non-endometrioid subtypes compared with other racial and ethnic groups. Using hair relaxers is a significant risk factor for uterine cancer among Black women, so if you have applied these products, we advise you to cease doing so.

The health conditions and diseases that can mimic uterine cancer

Because many doctors are unaware of the serious impact of chemical hair relaxers on the hormonal system, it should be no surprise that many women who regularly use these products are misdiagnosed after their first examination. The symptoms of uterine cancer mimic those of more common health conditions and less severe diseases, so medical professionals tend to assume the patient suffers from something else than uterine cancer. Since there is no screening test for uterine cancer, doctors have a difficult time assigning a correct diagnosis. The following are only some of the diagnoses women who use hair relaxers and have uterine cancer may initially receive:

  • endometrial hyperplasia
  • uterine fibroids
  • endometrial polyps
  • cervical cancer
  • cervical polyps
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Von Willebrand's disease
  • gluten intolerance

If you have been using hair relaxers and were diagnosed with any of the above conditions and diseases, we strongly encourage you to seek a second opinion, as you might have been misdiagnosed. When uterine cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the survival rate becomes grim - only 18% of women will live for five years or longer. It is very important to note that up to 38% of Black women receive their uterine cancer diagnosis when the disease has reached advanced stages, which makes treatment ineffective. Therefore, it is especially important to look for a second and even a third opinion if you are a Black woman and believe you have uterine cancer.

Our experienced attorneys can help you file a toxic hair relaxer claim for uterine cancer

With over 30 years of experience, our attorneys dedicate their endeavors to assisting people whose health was compromised due to toxic exposure or defective products. If you have been using chemical hair relaxers regularly and have a diagnosis of uterine cancer, you might be eligible to file a claim with the manufacturers. To initiate the legal process, all you have to do is send our legal team your medical records and evidence of having used hair relaxers, such as receipts or hair salon bills.

If you are too ill to participate in the legal process, you can ask a family member to help you, and our compassionate team will also help you navigate each step with minimal involvement on your part. Not only can filing a toxic hair relaxer claim provide you with money to afford better treatment, but it can also discourage unethical manufacturers from including toxic ingredients in their products. Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis, so you will only have to pay us if we obtain compensation for you.