Table 1.

Characteristics of eight studies included in the analysis of genital powder use and ovarian cancer

HistologybBehaviorc
StudyaDiagnosis yearsControlsCasesSerousMucinousEndometrioidClear cellInvasiveBorderlineQuestion used to define genital powder use
AUSg2002–20061,4491,432889 (62%)174 (12%)132 (9%)78 (5%)1,158 (81%)274 (19%)Have you ever used any sort of powder or talc on your genital area, in your underwear or on a sanitary pad or diaphragm?
DOVg2002–20091,8411,565905 (58%)186 (12%)201 (13%)87 (6%)1,153 (74%)412 (26%)Before (reference date) did you ever use any of the following products routinely during 1 month or more? Powder on sanitary napkins or pads? Vaginal deodorant spray? Before (reference date) did you usually apply any powder to your genital (perineal) area after bathing? We are only interested in times when you did this for at least 1 year or longer.d
HAW1993–2008755481222 (46%)87 (18%)69 (14%)47 (10%)392 (82%)89 (19%)Before (month/year of diagnosise) did you ever use talc, baby, or deodorizing powder dusted or sprayed on your body? By regularly I mean at least once a month for 6 months or more. Did you ever use talc, baby, or deodorizing powder as a dusting powder to the genital or rectal area? As a dusting powder to sanitary napkins? As a dusting powder to underwear? On a diaphragm or cervical cap?
HOP2003–20081,489735433 (59%)53 (7%)75 (10%)47 (6%)568 (88%)80 (12%)As an adult and before (reference month/year) did you ever use talc or baby powder or deodorizing powder with talc at least once a month for 6 months or more in any of the following ways: as a dusting powder or deodorizing spray to your genital or rectal areas? On your sanitary napkin? On your underwear? On your diaphragm or cervical cap?
NCOg1999–2008650786489 (62%)71 (9%)100 (13%)65 (8%)636 (81%)148 (19%)Did you ever regularly use cornstarch, talc, baby, or deodorizing powders (dusted or sprayed) at least 1 time per month for at least 6 months? If yes, please tell me if you used cornstarch, talc, baby, or deodorizing powders in any of the following ways: directly to your genital or rectal areas? Applied to your sanitary napkins or tampons? Applied to birth control devices such as cervical cap or diaphragm? Applied to your underwear?
NECg1992–20082,3292,3051,234 (54%)281 (12%)352 (15%)276 (12%)1,659 (77%)486 (23%)Did you ever regularly use powder on your body or your underwear (at least once per month for any amount of time)? If yes, did you apply powder directly to your genital or rectal areas? To your sanitary napkins or tampons? To your underwear?f
SONg1989–1992564449254 (57%)80 (18%)71 (16%)29 (6%)365 (81%)84 (19%)Have you ever used sanitary napkins/tampons? If yes, could you tell me over what ages you have used them, for how many years, what percentage of periods you have used them for, the usual number you have used for each period, whether they were deodorant pads/tampons, and if you used talcum powder or starch on them? Have you ever regularly used talcum powder or starch on your vaginal area after showering or bathing?
USC1993–1997782772396 (52%)131 (17%)75 (10%)32 (4%)549 (73%)205 (27%)Before (reference month/year), did you ever regularly use talc, baby, or deodorizing powder dusted or sprayed on your body? By regularly I mean at least once a month for 6 months or more. Did you ever use talc, baby, or deodorizing powder as a dusting powder to the genital or rectal area? As a dusting powder to sanitary napkins? As a dusting powder to underwear? On a diaphragm or cervical cap?
  • aAUS, Australian Cancer Study; DOV, Diseases of the Ovary and their Evaluation Study; HAW, Hawaii Ovarian Cancer Study; HOP, Hormones and Ovarian Cancer Prediction Study; NCO, North Carolina Ovarian Cancer Study; NEC, New England Case Control Study; SON, Southern Ontario Ovarian Cancer Study; and USC, University of Southern California Study of Lifestyle and Women's Health.

  • bCases listed by histology do not sum because mixed, other, undifferentiated, and unknown are not included.

  • cCases listed by behavior do not sum to the total number of cases because 267 cases are missing behavior information.

  • dIn a separate series of questions, participants were asked about powder use with diaphragm storage. Duration was calculated from ages of use. Information on duration, frequency, and timing of use was only collected on genital/perinal powder use after bathing.

  • eControls were asked “Have you ever regularly used…”

  • fNEC question varied slightly between the three study phases. Between 1992 and 1997 participants were asked, “As an adult and before (reference month/year), did you regularly use talc, baby, or deodorizing powders dusted or sprayed to your body in any of the following ways:”. Between 1998 and 2003, women were asked “Did you regularly apply cornstartch, talc, baby, or deodorizing body powder at least one time per month for 6 months or longer? If yes, please tell me if you regularly applied cornstarch, talc, baby or deodorizing body powders in any of the following ways:” Between 2003 and 2008 participants were asked the question listed above.

  • gThese studies previously published on genital powder use and ovarian cancer risk. AUS, DOV, and NEC provided new data to the pooled analyses presented here that were not included in previous publications.