Montefiore in the News
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Montefiore in the News

October 28, 2022

A study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences shows a correlation between hair relaxers and uterine cancer.

"In this study, they listed some of the common ingredients that have been linked to cancer, like parabens and formaldehyde-releasing chemicals. They also mentioned that sometimes when relaxers are applied - there may be heat damage or other type of injury to the scalp that can give those chemicals an easier time to penetrate through the skin,” said Dr. Beth Mclellan, chief of the division of dermatology.

A total of 33,497 women in the U.S. between 35-74 participated in the nearly 11-year study. The results found that women who reported frequent use of hair relaxers were more likely to get uterine cancer. During this study, 378 were diagnosed with the disease.

"The reality is they showed that using these relaxers up to four times a year - was associated with a doubling of the risk of endometrial cancer. so that's where we really start turning our heads and saying wait a minute. this is a dose response relationship that's going on here,” said Dr. Nicole Nevadunsky, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

This information can be tough for those who have been getting relaxers since they were children. However, there are signs to look out for uterine cancer.

"Any bleeding after menopause should trigger a call to your gynecologist. for younger women - they will have periods in between when they are scheduled. any twice monthly bleeding us not normal, please go see your gynecologist,” said Dr. Nevadunsky.

Both doctors say the study shows correlation between uterine cancer, not causation. However, it is important to stay in the know.