What you need to know:
- In Kenya, cancer is the third leading cause of death after infectious and cardiovascular diseases.
- The annual incidence of cancer was estimated at 47,887 new cancer cases, with an annual mortality of 32,987 in 2018.
One of the causes of uterine cancer among thousands of women is something you wouldn’t imagine. Scientists have found that women who have use hair straightening chemicals or relaxers may be at higher risk of developing the cancer.
In a peer reviewed study done by researchers at America’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), findings show an increased risk of hormone-related cancer in women who have used the chemicals in their hair. “We estimated that 1.64 per cent of women who never used hair straighteners would go on to develop uterine cancer by the age of 70; but for frequent users, that risk goes up to 4.05 per cent,” explained lead author Alexandra White, who is the head of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Environment and Cancer Epidemiology group.
In a similar study, a large research project led by (NIEHS) collected medical records and lifestyle surveys from tens of thousands of women ages 35 to 74, all of whom are sisters to women with breast cancer but did not have cancer themselves, in an effort to identify risk factors for breast cancer and other diseases.
The researchers disclose that over the course of 11 years, 378 cases of uterine cancer were diagnosed among the study’s 33,497 participants.
They observed that women who had ever reported using straightening products in the last year were slightly likelier to develop cancer than those who’d never used them while women who’d used the products more than four times in the past year were even more at risk — though researchers caution that uterine cancer is still relatively rare. The study, however, did not ask participants to report particular brands or chemicals. Other hair products like dyes, highlights and perms did not have the same link to uterine cancer according to the researchers.
Despite the fact that uterine cancer is rare, the experts disclose that black women develop it at a higher rate than women of other races. “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,” highlighted Che-Jung Chang , a co-author the study.
According to the National Cancer Screening Guidelines, in Kenya, cancer is the third leading cause of death after infectious and cardiovascular diseases. The annual incidence of cancer was estimated at 47,887 new cancer cases, with an annual mortality of 32,987 in 2018. Among men, prostate, oesophageal and colorectal are the leading cancers, while among women, breast, cervical and oesophageal cancers are most common.